Rookie Mistakes

Carter gave me about 3 milliseconds of warning before he made me pay for my rookie mistake.

I was getting some time with my grandson last evening.  He was happy and gooing and just basically enjoying himself.  I was holding him in front of me at eye level and having little kisses.  I moved him back and forth gently and announcing softly how I was about to get some Carter smoochies.  I lifted him a little and brought him down to me for a kiss..Then his eyes changed.  It was subtle but readily discernible to anybody who has been around babies.  I immediately closed my mouth.  About three milliseconds later, he unloaded the remainder of his dinner on my nose, mouth, chin and shirt.

Rookie mistakes.  I call them rookie mistakes because these are mistakes that I have made before out of inexperience.  They shouldn’t happen again . . . but they do.

I have been a father for 25 years and have helped raise or am helping three children.  I know better.  I made several mistakes that no veteran parent should make.  First, I was lulled into complacency because Carter had just spit up a huge amount on his dad.  He was much happier afterward and I figured he was either all better with the bad tummy or just empty.  Rookie mistake.  Never assume that an infant that has spit up can’t spit up again even if you are pretty sure that he or she has spit up a volume equal to the amount they just ate.  Infants are never empty.  They can store and or produce amazing amounts of cottage cheese.

Second I held an infant above my face who ate recently and spit up recently.  I should not have been surprised.  This ties into the above rule.  They are never empty.

Oh well.  No harm, no foul.  Just a quick clean up and a shirt change.  This wasn’t my first misstep with a child and I am sure that I will be able to report more in the future.  The vast majority of my child mistakes have been simple mental lapses that seem obvious later on.  when Charlie was a toddler I was changing his diaper and allowing him “naked” time.  He had a mild rash and I figured getting some air in that area would be beneficial.  I forgot the effect of fresh air and no diaper on a boy child.  Luckily I bent over to pick something up and the urine stream hit me in the back of the head instead of the face.  I was lulled into complacency by the fact that Charlie had a very wet diaper just moments earlier  I chose not to cover up the pee place and paid the price.  Like I said . . . they are never empty.

Sometimes you just outsmart yourself.  After one of our boys was circumcised the doctor told us t0 apply petroleum jelly to the wound so it wouldn’t stick to the diaper.  Made sense, but every time we touched the affected area with petroleum jelly he would howl in discomfort.  I had a great idea . . . I would just apply the petroleum jelly to his diaper.  That way it wouldn’t stick and we didn’t have to touch the ouchy part.  I was very pleased with myself until the baby peed for the first time.  It was the most monumental urine-based, outside-the-diaper event I have ever witnessed.  We changed him, I greased up another diaper and we moved on.  An hour or so later there was another Code Red Pee Problem.   As we changed him, my wife observed that the diaper was dry.  I looked at it.  Of course it was.  By spreading petroleum jelly on the inside of the diaper I had essentially made it water-proof.  Water-proof is pretty much the opposite of the ideal relationship between liquid and diaper that you are looking for.  Lesson learned.

Sometimes mistakes come from applying adult logic to a child or baby.  I was in a local grocery store with three-year-old Eli and my youngest brother, Ted, who was visiting.  As we walked the aisles Eli tossed his sippy cup on floor.  Ted bent over and handed it to Eli.  Eli smiled. took aim and bounced his sippy cup off of Uncle Ted’s glasses.  His glasses were on his face at the time.  There was a yelp of pain and a brief flash of irritation.  Ted laughed a little and rubbed his forehead.  “I can’t get mad,” he said.  “I did give it back to him.”

Ted assumed that he was helping Eli out when he gave him the sippy cup back.  He was, in actuality, reloading Eli.  He made his second shot count.  He looked slightly perplexed when he didn’t get his cup back.

Mistakes are inevitable but mostly they are inconsequential.  Maybe there is some cleaning or clothes-changing involved and probably some laundry.  Those are all things that you were going to do anyway.  Most goofs indicate that you are trying to do something positive.  They aren’t something that you should spend too much time worrying about..  Trust me . . . your baby will let you know when you make a rookie mistake.

Thanks for reading and sharing.  We’ll talk again soon on This Side of the Diaper.

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