The Tragedy at Panera

A couple days ago we were changing the kid’s diaper before his midday nap. To express his displeasure over some aspect of the process, he was kicking his legs: raising them up and then bringing them back down with a thump, as if they were spring-loaded. This is something he hasn’t done in a while, although for a while it happened every time his diaper was changed, and the recurrence reminded us of the event that made him stop….

We were driving with family to visit family, as I recall, and pulled over semi-arbitrarily at a Panera somewhere for a restroom break. (I think someone also bought some bagels as a conciliatory gesture.) My dad and I took the kid into the men’s room to change his diaper.

Our traveling diaper-change kit contains a sheet. One side is cottony and the other side is plasticky, for some modicum of protection and padding. But as essentially a single layer of thin cloth, it’s not a significant amount of padding. And changing stations are made of hard, sturdy plastic.

Well, we put down the sheet. We took the kid’s shoes and pants off and laid him down to change his diaper. He objected to this treatment, wound up his legs, then released the spring and dropped them. But not with a thump; no, this was a hard plastic bang, and the sound of it was quickly followed by seriously upset screaming because now the kid’s feet hurt. To top it off, being upset made him cut loose and flail his legs around more, leading to a short-lived cycle of escalating upset before we restrained him. He was so loud that my wife heard him from the women’s restroom and was wondering what could possibly have happened.

The next time we had to change him at a public restroom station, we were prepared… but he didn’t kick. Apparently he’d learned his lesson! And he has barely kicked at all in the year or so since that time… until today.

And it’s almost Thanksgiving break. And this year, again, we’ll be traveling with family to visit family. Doubtless, we’ll stop somewhere a couple times for restroom breaks, and we’ll change his diaper. We’ll see how things go….

About Confanity

I love the written word more than anything else I've had the chance to work with. I'm back in the States from Japan for grad school, but still studying Japanese with the hope of becoming a translator -- or writer, or even teacher -- as long as it's something language-related.
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