Want to know how to feel guilty about leaving your child in daycare on day three of the transition?
Have your child come home and give blood-curdling screams of pain when you change her.
From Tuesday to Wednesday morning, Dubya developed mild diarrhea. She’s eating well, is hydrated, but her stools are loose. She was changed six times at daycare yesterday — frequently enough that I don’t think she’s sitting in dirty diapers. No, what seemed to irritate her was the increase frequency of the wiping. Poor kiddo’s bum is red and the sensation of a wipe touching her skin causes her to scream and whimper in pain.
Cue absolute guilt and feelings of helplessness. Dubya’s had diarrhea in the past — I simply took greater care in wiping her down, patting her dry, and applying Aquaphor as a preventative measure. She never blinked. At daycare, she’s immediately developed a painful rash.
When I walked into our apartment last night, I heard my husband chatting at Dubya. A pause, then a scream. Not I’m hungry, I’m dirty, I’m tired. It was “Jesus fucking Christ, that hurts!”
I rushed into the nursery and my husband pointed out the rash. I patted her down dry while we soothed her with song and silly voices, and then slathered her in Aquaphor. My husband told me that as soon as he’d put her down to change her, she started fussing and whimpering. She’s usual pretty cheery on the changing table because we interact with her throughout. Seeing her so afraid of the table broke my heart.
The rest of the evening, Dubya was her happy self, but when she messed her diaper again, she seemed to get scared. I soothed her while she went, telling her she’d be okay. When I changed her, I kept my voice reassuring and wiped her down as gently as possible. We also gave her a warm bath to help soothe the area. But I’m pretty sure the discomfort affected her sleep (she had three wake ups before 11pm as opposed to none; thankfully she slept better the rest of the night).
With the help of gentle care, a dry bottom, and some Aquaphor, she looked so much better this morning. She still whimpered when I put her down for her first changing, but was happily chewing on her toes throughout once she realized it wouldn’t hurt.
We let daycare know they had to take it easy on her, asked them to pat her down dry, and use the Aquaphor liberally. But I’m sitting at work imagining her crying out in pain when she’s changed, her fat little cheeks setting into a rigid grimace of hurt. I know that’s dramatic, but ugh, did I hate seeing that expression on her face last night.
I also know that her daycare is a good one. It’s not their fault that Dubya developed a case of diarrhea right away, nor is it their fault that she’s especially sensitive to repeated wipings. I do wish they’d used the Aquaphor I provided to create a barrier after wiping her down, but hopefully that’s happening today. They seem to enjoy Dubya and she seems to like playing there. I know they take good care of her.
But no one can take care of her like my husband and I do. As I put her down to sleep last night, I cried. The guilt I felt was enormous.
Dubya heard me sniffle. Her eyelids fluttered, she stared up at me.
And because she’s so amazing, she smiled.