Earlier this month, a contingent of my close family members boarded an Amtrak that was passing through a certain dangerously hipster town in central Virginia. Destination: New York City. Sensitive cargo: NIECUS. Here's what happened next.
Episode 3: Diaper Change of Doom
This is what happens if the Niecus’ mother walks out of the room without taking the Niecus with her: War.
On the last night they were in New York, my sister and brother-in-law went out by themselves. I volunteered to babysit, which means I volunteered Zookeeper B and my mother and Ranger to babysit, too. I did this, and I would do it again. I have grand plans for this Niecus, namely, to steal her from her parents, so a little crying in the middle of a posh restaurant isn’t a serious deterrent.
Actually, that’s a lie. She didn’t cry in the middle of a posh restaurant. Just everywhere else.
As soon as her parents left our apartment for the evening, the Niecus lost her shit completely. She screamed down the whole building. She cried so forcefully that it sounded like whooping cough. We were a little dumbstruck, honestly. I’ve met babies before. It’s not like I'm unfamiliar with children. Niecus is a different animal, though. A screaming animal. All anyone could think was “get out the door. Get out the door, get the child outside, do something, do something, DO SOMETHING TO SHUT HER UP, ANYTHING.” The problem with trying to coordinate four adults and one inconsolable infant and actually get everyone out and on the way to dinner is 1) nobody can hear anyone else, and 2) the mounting panic causes odd and inefficient behavior. I put my scarf on and took it off again three times for no reason. I remember Mother trying to wrap the Niecus up in her coat, which caused me to snap, “leave the coat and HAND ME THAT SPATULA.” We did eventually make it out of the apartment. The Niecus did not have her coat on, but at least I remembered to pack the spatula in her toy bag. Because I’m a genius.
The miracle that happened between leaving the apartment and arriving at dinner was that Niecus chilled out and fell asleep. For almost half an hour after we sat down to eat, she slept. Then, when she woke up and reared her little dragon head, all she did was sit peaceably and play with her toys. The four of us kept looking around at each other with idiot grins on our faces, like, “Omg. Look what we did! We have control! Nobody even knows there’s a baby here!”
So what do you do when you’ve successfully arranged both a sit-down dinner and a happy baby? I don’t know. Evidently, the one thing you should definitely avoid is changing the happy baby’s diaper. The one thing I definitely pursued was changing the Niecus’ wet diaper. I carried her down to the bathroom, past hordes of hipsters at the bar, basking in what I perceived to be their great admiration. “Look at that elegant lady with that precious baby! So well-behaved! Such nice hair they both have!” (Note: Nobody said these things in real life) I suppose I should have been more attuned to Niecus’ mood. If I had been, I might have correctly interpreted her escalating squawking as an early warning system (of disaster), instead of assuming she was doing normal baby squawks. As soon as we walked through the bathroom door, it was over. Niecus had had it. She wailed. Too late, I realized that this was not the sort of establishment that installed baby changing tables on the walls. Neither was it the sort of place with, um, counter space. That left…the floor. If I’d been thinking clearly, I probably would have been like “screw this” and gone back to the table. There’s food at the table, and food makes Niecus happy. A wet diaper never killed anyone, either. Instead, I did the most logical thing I could think of at the time, which was to drag a supply cabinet out of the corner, wipe down the exposed floor with a baby wipe, remove Niecus’ wet diaper, sing her the Diaper Song (ask her parents), and struggle to fasten the new diaper, despite Niecus thrashing and kicking and doing basically everything in her power to thwart my fastening efforts. I tugged her leggings back on, backwards. I tossed the diaper in the trash without wrapping it nicely. I did not put the supply cabinet back, and I didn’t wipe down the changing pad with any disinfectants. I didn’t wash my hands, either. I’m not sorry about that. I just ran. Out of the bathroom, up the stairs, past the hipsters at the bar, up the other stairs, and back to the table. I grabbed Niecus’ bottle, which Niecus then grabbed from me and tilted alllllllll the way back, all by herself with her little hands. Then I picked up my wine and tilted it alllllllll the way back with my elegant lady hands. This is the photo ZB took of that very moment:
My best guess and greatest hope is that this photo personifies our relationship forever.
Day 3 photos:
The End. Niecus' first trip to New York was a great success, especially since the city is so loud that it doesn't matter if she's also being loud. Which is often. The good news is that my sister has seen for herself that Niecus is the fairest baby in all the land, even in the Big City with all of the international babies in their Dior slippers. Next step: baby modeling. Once she loses some of that pudge. We don't call her Niecus Obesus for nothing.