How diaper changing has evolved in public New York City bathrooms in Kaia’s 21 months of diapering

Once upon a time when Kaia was around four months old, we started going out around the city regularly with her. What we quickly found out, or rather, were reminded of, was the fact that most businesses in the city are not at all friendly to mothers and babies in that a changing table in the restroom is nearly unheard of. What this ends up meaning is that I end up having to take out Kaia’s changing pad, lay it out on a gross New York City bathroom floor, and change her on it (once we got home, I’d throw the changing pad into the washing machine). Then, since she wasn’t yet crawling, I just had to hope, hope, hope that she wouldn’t roll over or try to touch the dirty floor. I’d swat her fingers away when she’d try to get her hands on the floor. At around six months, she started rolling. This is when I had to prevent her from rolling OFF the mat while changing. It just kept evolving: at around 8.5 months, she started crawling, and I’d have to sing to her and get her to do anything to stay on the mat. Occasionally, I’d fail, but that would just mean that I’d not only need to wash my hands after a diaper change, but also hers.

Diaper changing has gotten easier, though, since she has started walking. Now, she seems a lot more cooperative during outdoor changes. She’s always keenly observing whatever dark, miserable bathroom we are in. And as soon as I tell her we’re all done, she immediately gets on her feet and starts wandering around while I wash up (Pookster now walking means I never have to worry about her rubbing her hands all over a gross floor again!). The cutest thing that always happens is when I sit down to pee, and she is so weirded out by the tight quarters we are in that she immediately walks back to me, places both her hands on my knees or the tops of my thighs, and starts moaning as though she’s scared. In other words, she has to remain close to me to feel safe and protected. I find it absolutely adorable and endearing, and I always coax her and tell her that she’s safe; we’re just in the bathroom so we can both pee and clean up, and we’ll be outside soon where there’s more light and space. It’s a strange thing to enjoy, but I do enjoy these short, sweet moments when we’re together and close, and she’s feeling vulnerable. I love my sweet baby.

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