Sunday, November 4, 2007

Diaper Changing Wigglies

Today I was stuggling with little Weston (11mo), to get his diaper changed. He was twisting and turning with all his strength. And he was angry that I was not letting him have his way.
He has been trying to twist his way out of diaper changes for several months now...I am trying to remember, but it has been since he was at least six months old. And the protests and have fluctuated in their intensity and frequency...we are currently in an upswing.

But today it occurred to me that these flagrant, "I don't want to do what you are making me do!" protests can actually be considered little gifts from God.


Follow me here. Have you ever wondered "when is it time to teach my child to obey?" (Of course. We all have.) As soon as they are able and have a mind to not like it, the twisting begins. Voila! You have yourself the answer.

And how do you teach it? When the protest begins, I stop what I am doing (unless I have a serious poop factor going on!) and begin to train. Give a firm "no" and pull his little arm/shoulder gently back to the changing table where it belongs. Let go and repeat as necessary - and outlast him. And here is an idea that just came to me: If you know the protest is coming, don't start the diaper change until you have laid him down and you have yourself a little training session. (I am going to try that one tomorrow!)

One of my kids was extremely persistant when it came to demanding his own way (who am I kidding? Like I can legitimately put that sentence in past-tense). I think I struggle with him in areas of obedience 5 times harder than with my more compliant child. I have learned that correction and training needs to be consistent, but you can also be creative. For diaper changes with him, I would give him a toy to play with, or sing songs or play with him to distract him from the protestation I knew would otherwise come (and of course that did not always work... often there were protests anyway... ). I figured that I had PLENTY of training opportunities with him all day long and that I did not need to (and could not possibly) fight every battle with him, so if he was distractable, I took him up on that offer. Pick you battles, pick your battles.

All that to say, I can be thankful for those diaper protests that begin so very early because it is a real in-your-face-mom window into my child's heart, so I can know what is being stored up there and what needs to be trained out. And I can see that as a real blessing.

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