Lessons in Chaffing


Justin, Robbie, and I packed up the car this morning and headed up to the New Hampshire coast with the CaCa, Allie, and Didi (or DeeDee – have to check – Allie’s mom).  We drove.  And drove.  And drove.  And then we stopped by the side of the road when we just couldn’t go anymore.  We were supposed to go to Rye Beach.  We wound up at Dead Otter Beach.

After pulling off by the side of a road at a random beach, we climbed up the rock wall and looked over to see if the beach would work for us.  And there it was.  A dead otter, floating in the water, being tossed in and out with the waves.  OK.  You’re right.  It was actually a seal.  But Dead Seal Beach just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

And, no.  We didn’t set up camp right next to the dead seal.  We walked probably a quarter of a mile down the beach, figuring the water there would be a little cleaner – and hoping we wouldn’t smell (or see) the dead seal.  And we didn’t.  The beach was gorgeous, if rocky.  The water was cold but bearable.  And Robbie had a blast.

That kid was all over the place.  He ran from the towels to the water.  He let the water chase him.  He jumped over waves.  He destroyed Justin’s sand castle.  He threw rocks and sand (and occasionally hit himself in the head).  He chased seagulls.  He hopped on everyone.  He conned popcorn out of DiDi.  He doled out oranges for everyone.  He walked down the beach, begging to be swung in the air.  In short, the kid lived it up.  And didn’t stop.

Until right before we left.  Micah, Allie, Darlene, Robbie, and I had walked down the beach in search of the dead seal.  After all, there had to be a picture.  Otherwise, it’s just any beach.  Right?  As we got closer to our towels, Robbie started walking funny and grabbing himself.  I could smell the poop and figured it was just an uncomfortable diaper.

As we started packing, I got Robbie undressed – floored by the disaster that was his diaper.  It was perhaps the most offensive thing I’d experienced in quite a while.  Honestly, I thought he had part of the dead seal in his pants.  It was that bad.  In an effort to have a moderately clean child before going to dinner, I took a naked toddler to the beach.  Despite his screams, I rinsed him off in the cool water, trying to convince him that he would indeed survive.

It wasn’t until I got my screaming, thrashing child back to the towel that I saw the reason for his distress.  Both of his thighs were bright red, chaffed so badly that it actually hurt to look at them.  And here I had been splashing salt water on them.  Worst.  Mother.  Ever.

The drama of the chaffed thighs continued until 10:45 tonight.  There was bath time, which involved blood curdling screams while I tried to rinse the sand out of Robbie’s hair and off his body.  There was getting pajamas on, where I had to sneakily put on a diaper and apply Desatin.  Actually, it didn’t involve being sneaky at all.  Justin held his arms down while I went in for the kill.  And it’s hard to be gentle with thrashing limbs close to your face.

An hour later, my poor child was still not asleep.  I went up, concerned that I kept hearing, “Dopper!  Dopper!”  (Translation: “Diaper!  Diaper!”)  I found Robbie holding the front of his diaper up, sobbing.  I grabbed him from his crib and took him to the changing table.  Originally, we hadn’t put pants on him to try to make him comfortable, but it occurred to me that would actually make it worse.

I tried explaining everything that I was going to do and told Robbie that it would hurt.  “Hurt” is definitely his new word.  The entire time I  was fixing his diaper, applying more Desatin, and dressing him, he screamed that it “hurt” and “burn”ed.  And it broke my heart.  We were both crying by the time I finished, only consolable by cuddling, which seemed to work well for the both of us.

Now I’m just hoping Robbie will sleep long enough for me to regroup in order to be able to apply the Desatin to his legs again tomorrow…


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