I steel my nerves, eyes staring straight ahead, lips pressed firmly together. My family has unanimously agreed that it is my turn, and they gather to watch the fun. Before me Brielle lies on her back on the floor, smiling up at me with that contagious, chubby-cheeked grin. She is so perfect, so cute, and so stinky.
Valerie hands me a diaper and a pack of baby wipes with a smirk. I ask her where the gloves, clothes pin, and hazmat suit are to try and stall the inevitable, but she ignores me. It is time. I kneel by my baby sister, unbutton her onesie, and try to greet the odious fumes that rise from her diaper without flinching.
What seems like a painfully long time later, I am finally nearing the end. Brielle's little smooth brown bottom has been cleaned, and the used diaper is wrapped up in a tidy, though stinking, package, ready for the garbage can. My family complements me not on my well-done job, but on the many different facial expressions I had managed to assume in the past few minutes. It takes me several tries to get the new diaper on properly, and one of my sisters comes alongside me and offers to put the diaper on the correct way. Sure, now she wants to take over. I tell her no with an added huff at the end. I started this thing, and I am going to finish it. After relieving Brielle of a backwards diaper that I am sure was causing quite a wedgie, I finally manage to get Brielle sufficiently diapered.
I rise from my kneeling position. After depositing the stinking package of you-know-what in the trash, I offer my family a contemptuous smile and blurt out, "That's it? I could do this all day."
They say they will take me up on that offer.
I wash my hands. And wash them again. Inwardly I am chaffing myself for speaking such foolish words. I never want to do that again, let alone all day. But then it hits me like a snowball to the face: I might as well get used to this, for unless I find that special young lady in the future who likes wiping babies' bottoms as much as she likes kissing their cheeks, I am in for many such odious experiences. For a brief second my plan to have a large family someday hits a speed bump, and I wonder if the life of a bachelor is really all that bad. But then Brielle offers me another of her contagious grins, followed by a string of unintelligible babbling, and my doubts vanish like a wisp of fog on a summer morning. It is as if she is trying to thank me for my service.
I kneel again by my baby sister's side and give her round cheek a long, lip-smacking kiss. Brielle responds by placing her tiny hand on my cheek and sticking her cute little tongue out. I squeeze her tubby body in a hug. So this is what it will be like to be a daddy, I wonder in awe.
In that moment, the odious experience is all worth it.