I have never actually held a baby honey badger in my hands and tried to wrap a fresh clean diaper around its tiny badger butt so that it doesn’t shoot pee into every nook and cranny of the house or leave a trail of ‘baby raisins’ across the hardwood floor like tracks in the snow.
But I have a feeling that I’ve come pretty darn close.
When my first child, my daughter Violet, was a few days old it the harsh reality of diaper changing slammed into my thick skull one morning while I was attempting to get a new one on her. This was before I had even had a chance to do my normal sleepwalking coffee waltz which basically consists of me baking a filter-load of Chock Full O’Nuts in the Mr. Coffee without any water at all.
So, you know, you can sort of understand what planet I was on that given moment when I figured out the fact that kids don’t just lay there all still and stuff when you’re trying to get the whole job done without getting yourself a nice ‘Good Morning, Daddy!’ handful of infant gravy.
She was wiggling her tiny body and trying to raise her hands up at my face and coming damn close to flipping herself off of the changing table, which was making me nervous on top of my pre-caffeine blues when I knew I had to come up with something fast. I needed to distract her, to occupy her squinty eyes and her bubbling brain with something that might give me the chance to work my magic with my wipes and secure a new diaper around her.
I handed her the first thing I saw within my reach.
Baby powder is a gentle white rain sprinkled delicately upon two acorn shell butt cheeks when it’s done right. Baby powder is a scene straight out of Scarface when you give it to an actual baby who can’t even lift a basil leaf, let alone a plastic jug.
I needed something better. I needed a fail-proof way to distract a wild honey badger.
‘Diaper Bird’, like most brilliantly outlandish ideas that come into the world and change the very way mankind lives, just sort of happened.
A few days after poor Violet had gotten a face full of baby powder, I was about to change my 85th diaper of the long day. Violet was on her back but trying hard to change that when I grabbed a new diaper with my loose hand (my other hand acting as a cheap strait jacket spread across my daughter’s chest) and simply held it above my head and started flapping it around like a bird.
“McCawwww McCawwww McCawwwwwwwwww!” I let out the shrill cries of some weirdo seagull/crow/pterodactyl type flying thing as I flew the diaper in stalking circles, like a buzzard coasting on a thermal high above our little mess
And I will never ever forget her sweet baby eyes at that moment.
I knew it right away. I had her. She was mine.
“Look Violet!,” I whispered at her. “It’s a bird! It’s a Diaper Bird!”
Now, I knew I couldn’t get her cleaned up with both hands occupied, so I flew that sucker around, making it’s wings flap and diving it down towards her face and then back up high into the sky and finally, when I saw she was enamored with it, when she was looking at it like it was the most beautiful thing she she had ever seen (it probably was, given that she was only about a week old), I landed it softly on top of her cheeks and nose.
It was GO TIME!
Violet put her fingers around the edges of the diaper on her face while I quickly grabbed another one and went to town in a Tasmanian Devil tornado of wipes and Butt Paste and baby powder and more wipe and finally, a new diaper.
And when I was done, she still wasn’t squirming around at all. The honey badger had been seduced by the sexy white ‘bird’.
It had worked, I had discovered a way to keep her still!
The other day, Henry was on his back with a car-crash diaper wrapped around his waist. He’s one and a half now and he makes Violet The Honey Badger seem like yesterday’s pleasant dreams. Hank The Tank, as I call him, is at an age where I think he sees the world as one vast spinning scene which keeps him dizzy and bobbling around, this way and that, forced into doors and walls and dangerous joints by the tilting Earth underneath his feet.
But he knows the ‘Diaper Bird’ and where she lives. And he knows just how to make her fly his way.
Up on the changing table, he kicked his feet until I swore he’d bust an ankle. He tried to tear my eyeballs out, too, grabbing at the air just in front of my face with the kind of merciless face-grab usually reserved for steel cage matches. He cried and groaned.
But we both knew what was up. We both knew what the score was here. He was calling her, beckoning the ‘Diaper Bird’ to descend down out of the heaven’s above old daddy’s noodle. I held him tight to the table with my one hand and shoved a Huggies Snug & Dry into the sky above us. These things soak up spills that would pollute small oceans, but beyond that, they are equipped with some of the most aerodynamic smooth-sailing diaper wings that I have had the pleasure to fly in my day; and believe me, I have flown a lot of ‘Diaper Birds‘.
‘McCawwwww!” I bellowed.
Henry did what he does at his first sight of her; he froze.; and he giggled; and he reached his loving/unstoppable arms toward that old familiar bird.
“Look, Henry! Who’s that?!” I said. He smiled his gappy tooth smile so wide as I landed her on the mountain-top landing strip of his belly. His body was still now, or still enough for me (he’s never completely still).
Then, with the quickness, I disappeared in a hail of wipes and wind.
You can also find Serge on his personal blog, Thunder Pie.
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