Diapers were supposed to be gross, disgusting, and something I would creatively bargain against to avoid doing. But instead, they’re just thirty seconds of my day that is as insignificant as locking the front door behind me. As it turns out, cleaning up my baby’s bum is not a challenge; it’s the whole keeping my cool in the face of a hitting, screaming, biting monster that I have trouble with.
Dylan’s intense behavior is of constant speculation. I’ve been told that it’s normal for him to slam his head against the tile floor when he gets mad. And I’ve been told that it’s okay when his huge smile is washed away with body thrashing misery. “He’s a baby,” “he’s frustrated that he can’t communicate what he wants,” “he doesn’t understand boundaries yet,” “the best reaction is no reaction,” and so on.
The normalcy of his tantrums is constantly being reinforced by other parents, by his doctor, and by the dozens of google searches I’ve done on the topic. But guess what? It doesn’t make it any easier. Watching your son thrash his body repeatedly against his highchair because he’s upset you got “too close” is ridiculously defeating and scary. It’s frequent, it’s fast, and it can be triggered by the drop of a dime (especially if he wants the dime he’s not allowed to have).
For me, it’s a constant battle between not wanting to worsen the situation and not wanting to stand by and let him bash his head (or bite hard plastic, or throw himself backward, etc.). In a perfect world, I would be able to give him the tools needed to better channel his aggression. But we’re not there yet- and sometimes it feels like all I’m doing is getting in the way as I fumble through being consistent and non-reactive.
So as I prematurely gray and my stress levels spike, I laugh at my past naivety and secretly wish a dirty diaper was the most challenging part of the day. Though depending on Dylan’s temperament, sometimes it is.