The thighs on my 15-month-old are made of thick ham: juicy, but defined. They sit atop bowlegged lengths and meet the certified narrow feet known on her maternal grandmother and aunt. Jai carries the acceleration of a roadster on those things, the torque powerful, even at rest. Her sport of practice is walking the house at an almost nonstop incidence. She works so much strength and resolution into those legs. Little did I know it is all professional training under the sponsorship of Diaper Change Gymnastics.
Jai didn’t tell me about her aspirations; she just kicked me and dove off the changing table one fine summer day.
It was a Sunday.
Jai had completed her post-breakfast poop and was starting to vacate a green trail into the air behind her departed figure, so I had to superintend. I had not had any particular troubles changing my daughter’s bottom before. With the exception of often having to pry her legs open for thorough wiping, she has been fully cooperative in the past. I had never had to use the changing pad seatbelt or had to assist in any bodily interventions.
I suppose this day was one for empirical assessment.
We began the diapering process normally. I scooped up the baby in my arms, coercing a tandem bend towards the set of drawers that serves as Jai’s changing table stand. She plopped down with a gentle thud, legs crossed tightly at the ankles as usual. I retrieved a clean diaper from the bottom drawer, then moved towards un-taping her current odorous extravaganza. Mommy could not, however, convince Jai to withdraw her legs apart. There were kind verbal requests. I pushed apart from her knees, much to her linguistic indignation. I tickled, which worked for half of a second, but she recognized my tactics immediately and took to the defense.
Mommy could not, however, convince Jai to withdraw her legs apart. There were kind verbal requests. Jokes and songs. I pushed apart from her knees, much to her linguistic indignation. I tickled, which worked for half of a second, but she recognized my tactics immediately and took to the defense.
A real defense.
She set her right leg into firing position and effected a kick into my stomach. Just as quickly, and before I could react to the gut-punch, she attempted a desperate roll in place from back to stomach on the pad, swinging her two legs wildly in an arc to flip. Instead of sticking her landing and ending on her tummy on the changing pad, I caught her mid-air by her ankles, upside down, alongside the drawers.
I don’t think she saw that dismount coming.
I flipped her right-side-up and sat her on her feet on the floor. She fussed tearfully, mostly in astonishment and frustration at the unsuccessful getaway. I didn’t know which circumstance to address first:
That mommy is a ninja.
That this toddler gunned me with an uncharacteristic blow to what I presume was an opposition to getting a clean butt. What was this about? It hurt in the way that baby gums nip at fingers or the way babies stomp into laps with those gigantic white walking boots. Stung, mostly, but was short-lived.
That this little lady would apparently much rather sit in her poop than to have it carefully removed, furthering my idea that she’s much grosser than her big brother.
That she administered a previously-unseen movement of bravery that I was reluctantly impressed by. There was no fear in her devotion.
Her floor routine needed work, but she was traveling in the right direction. The balance beam is a skillful pursuit. We could initiate lessons on the vaulting table.
I could go along with this.
And to think that my son, Jrue, would be my child prone to risk-taking and roughhousing. I’m slowly discovering the boys vs. girls irony in my two little ones, something I thought I had captured already. Jai has to be resilient and tough and flexible to make it through life’s countless lessons, especially if she’ll nurture Olympic-sized dreams someday, so I had to be the one to steward her growth.
All of this to occur…after I strap Jai into that handy changing pad seatbelt during every diaper change.
I seriously look forward to having a potty-trained daughter.