Today was finally a hot summer August day, which we here in Seattle have been yearning for. I was changing Carter’s diaper after his very long and probably heat induced, afternoon nap.
A fun game for Carter when I change his diaper is for him to touch any emblem that might be on my shirt and have it produce a funny sound from me. If my shirt has a little horse on it (garage sale I think, I wouldn’t have paid for that) I make a horsy sound, “whinnie.” If I have my Cubs shirt on and he touches the emblem I say, “Cubs win!” or “Let’s get some runs.” All of this results in peels of laughter from Carter.
Today, though, I learned a valuable lesson. Rule #752 on the list. Being so hot out, I was not wearing a shirt. Where there normally is a horse, or some logo, or the Cubs “C,” was only a nipple. A nipple as different from his mother’s as any two things with the same name could be. He pressed it once nonetheless, and as you can imagine, produced a funny sound. There are some men, I assume, who couldn’t care less about someone touching their nipples, and some that even enjoy it. I, on the other hand, can’t stand it. It is my super-tickle spot that I would prefer left alone.
He was ready to press it again, when luckily, he spied something else of interest. My belly button. A spot that I was about to be reminded, I hated being poked even more than my nipples. Carter’s eyes focused on it. What used to be an outie, time and a decadent lifestyle has been transformed into an innie. Suitable to house one toddler’s index finger.
Carter looked up at me for a moment, looked at his finger, looked at my belly button, and plunged his digit in. I made a sound that was a mix of the foghorn on a ferryboat, the sound of a twenty-foot long alpenhorn playing in the Swiss mountains, and an amplified, scared mouse. It was a high-pitched “Aah-Ooo-Gaa” sound. Carter loved it. He laughed. I laughed, and he jammed his finger in there again. Same sound. He laughed, and I couldn’t help myself. I laughed very hard. The combination was way too much for my common sense to control.
Back to the rule. “Never laugh out loud over something you don’t want your toddler to do again.”
If Carter does something to make someone laugh, especially me, he will want to do it again. And again. And again. After twenty or, let’s say, thirty thousand times, he starts to tire of it.
It was horrible. Worse than when my older sister held me down and tickled my ribs and wouldn’t quit. Worse because I had set up the entire situation, and there was nothing for me to do to immediately rectify it. I had to finish changing that very significant diaper. I couldn’t leave him on the changing table, to go get a shirt. I couldn’t pick him and that diaper up. I was helpless. Working frantically, as Carter was joyously thrusting his finger into my belly button and cackling. I was trapped in a fit of uncontrollable and unwanted laughter. The more he did it, the more I laughed. The more I laughed, the more he did it.
I will never change his diaper again without my shirt on. That is obvious. But the damage to my nervous system from that ordeal is so severe, I think from now on I might just put a piece of duct tape over my middle as added protection under my shirt.