on being the kind of person who contemplates purchasing a diaper cream applicator tool

A few weeks ago, I sat at the local gelato shop with a friend and mother of four. As I chipped away at my chocolate gelato with that tiny shovel they give you, savoring the freedom granted me by my babysitting parents — unaware that the baby was about to wake up wailing — we talked about how our Christmases had gone.

Mine was one for the books, in which we survived and even at times flourished while traveling 2,100 miles in three weeks with two little kids. But it was also a time when I had to get into diaper cream in a big way — those little bums didn’t take well to so much car travel, after all.

My friend was talking about how there was a period in her life when two of her childhood friends kept racking up personal achievements while she mostly just kept having babies. I think I know what she meant — how you can feel comically divorced from the life you thought you wanted, the one that keeps marching on beyond you as you become an expert in realms you never expected to even visit.

For awhile at that point, I’d been eyeing the Baby Bum Brush Diaper Cream Applicator Tool (Blue). I was beyond sick of applying butt paste a half dozen times a day, and ready any break I could get in the routine. But another part of me couldn’t believe I was the kind of person who’d even consider a ridiculous purchase like this. I did really well in college! I have a master’s degree! My soul rebelled at even having to apply diaper cream at all. It’s way below my pay grade.

Except, of course, that I don’t actually have a pay grade anymore.

Then last week, Scout underwent a round of antibiotics and it was back to the Desitin in a big way, and I still didn’t have my Baby Bum Brush Diaper Cream Applicator Tool (Blue). I muddled on just the same as the antibiotics blasted through her system, smearing it on over and over with a thousand diaper changes, staring vacantly out the window at the melting snow.

But something happened, in time. I still don’t like having to touch that little rashy butt, but I began to appreciate the small rhythm in my day, the pause from the noise of toddler play, moving to a quiet room, staring out a sunny window, and waiting a beat or two for a little bum to dry. I’s a moment where I can think my own thoughts uninterrupted, can tickle a soft, warm baby belly, then sit in a dim room and read a snatch of e-book.

I am still not sure if I’m the kind of person to buy a Baby Bum Brush Diaper Cream Applicator Tool (Blue), but I might be becoming the kind of person who doesn’t mind applying diaper cream and soothing a little person, and that seems no small accomplishment.