I write this lying on my stomach next to my daughter Joanie as she wriggles and squirms on a mat with an arch over it from which hang various bells, mirrors and rattles. In the centre of the arch there’s a plastic sun that sings lullabies and blinks along to the melody in an epilepsy inducing fashion. Eric and I refer to it as the “over-stimulation chamber.” Yesterday, as Joanie lay enraptured by the solar tunes and flashes, I fell asleep on my hardwood only to wake up with a small pool of drool by my lip and an annoying pain in my shoulder.
Though baby books offer scores of advice, lessons and anecdotes, the authors of such tomes neglected to warn my knees about just how much time they would spend on the ground. On average I spend four hours a day kneeling, lying and rolling on the floor. Whether I’m enjoying an egg sandwich across from Joanie in her bouncey chair or lying next to her during her tummy time on a yoga mat, the floor is the place to be.
And it’s not just in my house that I find myself occupying the terra firma. Few of the establishments I frequent have changing tables. This is no travesty. I understand the restrictions old buildings impose, and I’m a resourceful lady, I’m certainly not above kneeling on bathroom tile next to a pile of receiving blankets on which a diaper can be changed in a cramped and poorly lit space.
Recently, while joining some friends at a local pub for an afternoon pint, I took Joanie to a closet of a bathroom. It was too small for both of us on the floor so I arranged a changing space on the toilet seat. As I cooed and whistled a few “What a good girls” at my squirming daughter, I realized I neglected to lock the door. A very surprised young woman walked in and cried a George-Takei-esque “Oh my,” and fumbled the door closed again. “It’s okay,” I murmured apologetically, wondering why she was so disturbed by a woman changing a diaper, scoffing casually at her uptight, posh manner. It wasn’t until I walked back to my table that I was able to picture in my mind what she had seen. Rather than a mother doing mothering things, the young woman must have thought she was privy to a lady squatting in front of a toilet, praising the porcelain for its good girl qualities.
Motherhood, it would appear, isn’t convenient. It’s a lot of accommodation, resourcefulness and quick fixes. Strangely enough it’s not embarrassing. That probably has something to do with the amount of bodily fluids I deal with on a daily basis.
Note: Skip Hop makes a portable changing station. I haven’t bought one yet, but it looks like a good idea.