SitRep: Day 11 of Operation Homefront
The convoy continues eastward on return to Forward Operating Base Bubba. After a couple of pitstops to refuel and acquire some hot chow the VIP passenger, codename Bubba Bear, has become difficult. As part of his PSD (Parental Security Detail) I’ve had to supervise his care along with the convoy commander throughout this operation. Thus far the convoy commander has become quite adapt at changing out his MOPP (midget operated pee protection) gear in the backseat of the lead vehicle. We hope to make it back inside the wire and to the Baby Command Center before the day is out.
This was around halfway into our road trip back to Georgia after visiting family in Texas for the Christmas holiday. He was a couple days shy of two months at this point, and he was equally ready for such a long car ride as he was totally not ready for it. The jeep was crammed with luggage and presents accumulated over the trip, leaving only room to sit in one of the back passenger seats (and even there the foot room was on the short side) just in case the ‘convoy commander’ aka mommy needed to sit back there with him during the drive.
So the first thing about a long over the road convoy with a newborn is that you cannot be ‘too prepared’. Similar to planning an exercise you have to try and plan for every possible contingency. What do you do if you need to change their diaper? If they get hungry? Or if they’re just plain over being in the carseat and need to get out for a bit. These are just the basic things you have to think about and plan for, doesn’t sound too bad, right?
Well, then you have to plan for all of the possible variations to those scenarios. Changing a diaper while you’re stopping to eat is one thing (by the way, during our trip we were a bit surprised at how many gas stations and fast food joints were totally lacking in baby changing table-things in the bathrooms), but changing a solid #2 that smells like someone just dropped a canister of mustard gas in the car will have you wishing you had your gas mask with you before you think about how you’re going to change it. Did I mention when this happens you’re always going to be at least 50-60 miles away from the next establishment of any sort where you could stop and use their restroom to change the little poo-mine? That’s the time when you have to dig down and become an instant exprert in changing the dirtiest of diapers (and likely the whole outfit) on the front seat while you’re pulled over on the side of some random access road.
Here’s how the progression of diaper changing skills went from softie just out of basic to seasoned special ops operator:
1: Change diaper in fast food restroom with baby station. If you’re lucky the blast was fully contained and no need to change outfits.
2: Change diaper in gas station bathroom with no baby changing station. If you’re lucky the sink counter is big enough to set the little insurgent on to get the job done, if you’re not lucky (and you probably won’t be) then you have to field dress that butt on the bathroom floor (hopefully you’re prepared and brought a changing pad with you for just an occasion, it should be on your packing list anyways).
3: The diaper has exploded, containment has failed and you’re wondering if the onesie/romper/sleeper the insurgent is wearing will need to be placed in a biohazard bag and burned in a 50 gallon drum with some diesel and a two by four. Luckily for you there’s a gas station or fast food joint at the next exit in less than a mile and you only have to deal with the rank odor for a few minutes before you can get the little biohazard in someplace and cleaned up.
4: The convoy gods have smiled upon you. The diaper needs changing again, but only because the little insurgent is irritated at how full of pee it is. Unfortunately there’s nowhere with a bathroom in sight. This is it, your first practice run on a road change. You’ve got two options: have mom change it in her lap in the backseat, or clear out whatever junk is in the front seat and prepare to change it yourself. Pay close attention whichever method you choose, because you will need the muscle memory in place to get through the next one.
5: Broken arrow, I repeat, broken arrow. The diaper blast has broken containment of the diaper, and its all over inside the confines of the infant insurgents clothing. Before long you’ll feel the tears welling in your eyes and you’ll swear you’d rather be going through the CS chamber again rather than sitting through this. The thought of getting the infant insurgent out of the vehicle and telling the convoy commander to run for the woodline while you call in a fire mission on your car will probably cross your mind. Don’t panic, this is what you trained for soldier! Luckily for you the previous four steps have turned you into a battle-hardened baby-changing machine. All other thoughts go out the window as you find the next exit and pull to the side of the road before the convoy commander suffering in the back seat unbuckles the little biohazard from the car seat and passes it up to you with a quickness. Like a skilled field surgeon you smoothly extricate the infant from the thoroughly destroyed diaper and whatever they are wearing, the wife handing you wet wipes and patting the sweat from your brow as you perform delicate diaper-surgery. Suddenly, the clouds part and the sun shines through, the ear piercing screams have come to a halt as the little one is in something fresh and clean, and you are free to hand them back to the convoy commander to be secured in their carseat so you can continue mission.
From that point on until you reach your destination it’s like a random lottery of which of the 5 levels of diaper emergency you’re going to be faced with. But now you’ve seen it all, and you are prepared for whatever that little monster can throw your way.