Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Dreaded Diaper Rash

I have officially discovered the most unpleasant thing about parenting. It’s not changing diapers, or suctioning snot out of noses, or even sleep deprivation. It’s diaper rash. We managed to escape it for nearly eight months, but now here it is with a vengeance.

My mom warned me that when I was teething, I always got terrible diaper rash. And when Ryan’s first two teeth started coming in, he had a tiny bit of redness down below every now and then. But now, as we’re waiting for the next two teeth to make their appearance, the poor kid’s backside has suddenly transformed into raw hamburger.

I feel terrible for him every time I change his diaper. As soon as I put him on the changing table, he starts to sob hysterically and locks his legs together so I can hardly get his diaper off. Not surprisingly, he apparently dreads the ordeal as much as I do. The worst part is wiping his backside – I had a hangnail one day and realized that even the non-alcohol wipes sting like the dickens, so I can only imagine how painful it must be when I touch his raw backside with the wipes. I’m tempted to take my husband’s suggestion and just hose him off in the bathtub every time I change him, but unfortunately that’s just not logistically possible. (Keep in mind, he weighs 32 pounds and he’s VERY strong. I simply can’t physically haul him in and out of the tub – against his will - five times a day and still walk upright by bedtime.) Plus, the only thing I can imagine that would be more painful than what he’s got now is to add an infection on top of it. So I go with the best weapon I have: diaper rash cream.

We have several types on hand: Desitin, Aveeno, and good old-fashioned petroleum jelly. We slather it on his bum like frosting on a birthday cake. (My somewhat conservative husband jokes that it’s about the only thing he does “liberally”.) We do the best we can to create a thick seal over his tender skin. I wish there were a way to tell him that the salve will make him feel better, but all he knows is that touching that broken, rashy skin is agony for him.

I remember as a little girl, whenever I had the flu my dad would tell me, “I wish I could be sick instead of you.” I never completely understood what he meant until having a child of my own. But right now, if I could take his pain on myself, I absolutely would. At least I know that it won’t last forever. At least I know that some of the short-term pain will actually help the long-term pain. At least I know how to help myself avoid making the pain worse. But I guess that all I can do is keep slathering him with soothing lotion and just wait for those teeth to arrive.

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