“I’m just going to go change him, OK”, I call out to my best friend, slinging Abe on to my left hip and grabbing my half open (it’s always half open…) rucksack. I head upstairs to find the bathroom and once in, I shut the door and do a quick scan of the room. “No-freakin’-way”, I mutter to myself, eyes widening, “there’s a bidet!”.
You see, for as long as I can remember, my husband and I have always changed our kids’ nappies and done all that yucky stuff in and around a sink. It started about five years back after we stopped using wet wipes, which have to be one of my least favourite items in the world: laden with chemicals, hard to dispose of (hence why they end up clogging up waterways up and down the world or flung on the side of the road), practically indestructible – a single wet wipe takes around 500 years to break down – and actually pretty crappy at the job they’re supposed to do, meaning you end up having to use about 15 of the things to get anywhere.
It started about five years back after we stopped using wet wipes, which have to be one of my least favourite items in the world
So yep, we ditched wet wipes and moved on to cloth wipes – and when I don’t have access to running water, or when I’m out and about, this is what we use. But day to day, and every morning, we just instinctively grab Abe, head to the sink, wipe him down with toilet paper if need be, discarding the paper in the toilet. We then dunk him in the sink whilst simultaneously attempting to move all of our toiletries we use on a daily basis out of the way before Abe can swipe at them. Next, we grab a bar of soap, lather it on a clean ligament, and gross warning – get all up and in there, making him giggle and gurgle, and beautifully clean in the process.
I cradle him in the sink, well, these days it’s more like a dangle-out -the -sink vibe, but I’m able to stoop close to his face and breathe in his delicious baby breath. I know it’s weird, but changing a baby’s nappy can actually be an opportunity to connect, a time to mindfully clean and preen your most precious thing in the world and make them all shiny and perfect and sweet smelling again. A few moments later, he’s bundled up in a towel and whilst previously, he’d lay on the floor, where he’d remain for a short while, kicking away, happy, watching the world go by whilst I’d prep a clean nappy, these days he totters about, making mischief in his cute birthday suit before he’s gently pounced on with a new nappy and distracted just long enough to strap on one (gotta love a velcro fastened nappy).
And sure, the whole thing is pretty intimate but if part of parenthood isn’t about getting up, close and personal with your baby’s poo, well then I don’t know what is.
Allowing air to circulate around his bottom and drying him properly is important and key to why he so rarely gets nappy rash (when he does I whack on some coconut oil.) And sure, the whole thing is pretty intimate but if part of parenthood isn’t about getting up, close and personal with your baby’s poo, well then I don’t know what is. I should add though, once this is all done, some serious handwashing goes down.
But back to the bidet. Because here I was, alone in a bathroom, with a wriggly baby who’s always a bit small for a sink – with access to a bidet. Typically, as I’d said above, I’d use cloth wipes when not at home but this seemed too good an opportunity to miss.
It’s joyful and practical and SO SPACIOUS, and for those 30 seconds or so, Abe and I are in our own world in this slightly more luxurious set up than normal
I lay Abe down on the floor, and start undressing him, still not sure what I would do next. From where I’m kneeling, the bidet is just a short lunge away. Instinctively, I reach for the soap from the sink on the other side, pick up naked Abey, plonk him down in the bidet, switch on the tap, let the water flow, and do. our. thing. It’s joyful and practical and SO SPACIOUS, and for those 30 seconds or so, Abe and I are in our own world in this slightly more luxurious set up than normal. A few moments later, he is lying gloriously clean on my friend’s bathroom floor, beaming up at me. I’m praying he doesn’t pee everywhere.
I quickly get a bit antsy – it feels like we’d been up here for hours. Our washes do take longer than “normal” baby changes. I can hear footsteps approaching before a small, smiling blonde child (not mine) bursts into the bathroom, just as I am finishing wiping the bidet with a good dousing of soap and water. Abe is still on the floor, still naked, by now wrapped in a towel I’d nabbed from the door, and the child – my gorgeous little godson – looks a bit (understandably so) baffled by the situation.
I dry Abe a bit too brusquely for my liking, pull a new nappy on him and get him dressed before scrambling to my feet. I dive to hang the towel back up just as my friend comes in, her little boy and I giggling a little at each other.
“Everything ok Em?”, she asks.
“Yep”, I reply, slightly breathlessly. “Nice bidet, Meg!”
“Yep!”, she replies, “it’d be awesome for changing a baby in, right?”
“Right!”, I reply, nodding, with a broad smile and wide eyes.
“Ha, brilliant!”, she replies. “Glad you got good use out of it.”
And with that, I remind myself that I choose my best friends for a reason and that us parents are all as weird as each other anyway. As Meg helps me gather my belongings, we all head back downstairs, chuckling and cleaner and that little bit more connected.
P.S If anyone reading this is ever wondering what to get me as a gift – aside from a bidet, of course – a soap bar is THE ONE. We get through them quick!
What do you do as a parent that’s kind of odd but which is just totally, utterly, super instinctive to you?