I write this entry on my laptop as Leo hollers inconsolably in bed with Claire and I. The day before yesterday, he started to exhibit a bit of baboon bum. As my previous posting indicated, our boy has considerable throughput, and the frequent diaper changing has begun to take its toll.

The baby book says that when diaper rash appears, one should discontinue the use of baby wipes, and instead spritz the wee buttocks with a bit of warm water, then pat dry.

The impact of this change was not trivial.

What had previously been a 5-minute diaper swap with wet wipes degraded into a 20-minute complex coordinated team effort. I would hold my screaming son over the bathroom sink as my sister experimented with water temperature, then used a bicycle water bottle in an attempt to approximate a bidet. Leo would squirm, poop, and pee all over the place while I tried to keep his drippy parts over the sink, and my sister pointed futile squirts at what was essentially waterproof muck on his bum.

We’ve since settled on using a moistened Kleenex to pat Leo clean, but this still takes way longer than a quick wipe. The increased duration of the cleaning process has resulted in a higher incidence of “pee on self” events, which in turn has resulted in more laundry, and more dark circles under our eyes from lack of sleep.

Diaper rash has other ramifications, as well. We’re using zinc oxide cream to help heal the skin and shield it from the toxic sludge. This is messy stuff, and makes us have to wipe more at every change, then reapply. Leo doesn’t exactly dig this.

We also have to schedule “free air time” for Leo every day. We let him go commando on a towel and garbage bag-wrapped exercise mat on the living room floor. More cleaning results from this, and he doesn’t particularly enjoy being left there with his red ass exposed. (Okay, Claire thinks he likes it, but when I saw him, he just lay on his tummy and grunted for a bit, then started to cry.) We also have to keep Beta from licking him silly while he’s down there.

Two weeks ago, “diaper rash” seemed to us just an unpleasant-sounding, but trivial, condition, nothing to worry about. We’ve come to realize the folly of this belief, since a little redness on our baby’s bum has radically altered our lives.