First of all, don't panic.
Panicking is only useful if you’ve been set on fire or they open a new till at Aldi. In a nappy change environment, panic will ruin both your spirit and nice carpet.
This isn't Chicago in the 40’s and you’re not Miles Davis - you can't just rock up and start improvising. You need to nail this operation to the wall. Get everything you need ready. Would you go camping without a tent?
Wipes, wipes and more wipes.
You can't have too many but you can definitely have too few. The last thing you want is to run out and have to use your sock.
Grab a new nappy. (Yes, you'll need one of these.)
This sounds more patronizing than offering Lance Armstrong tips on bullshit I've lost count of the number of times I've done the hard work by getting a clean bum ready but forgotten to prep the fresh nappy. This is the parental equivalent of dribbling past three defenders, dancing round the oncoming keeper and then spooning the ball over the crossbar.
Open the new nappy up.
You can’t bake a pie without making the pastry so open the flaps, flatten it out and for the love of god, work out which end is the front.
Which end is the front though?
Fuck knows. Maybe there’s a little teddy bear or something on it.
Get the nappy bag ready.
By ready I mean open. You don't want to be licking your fingers to get purchase on the bag after a messy change.
Have you pulled the new nappy’s flaps out yet?
For god’s sake, why not? Do it now.
Undo the dirty nappy and brace yourself
The contents aren’t going to be fun - it’s a dirty nappy, not a party popper. The best you can hope for is that it’s just chock-full of piss. Hardly cause for celebration.
Get the old nappy off. Quickly!
Take care but don’t hang about. Imagine you’re at a self-scan checkout and there’s a massive queue behind you.
You’re panicking aren’t you? I specifically told you NOT to panic.
I shouldn’t have mentioned the self-scan checkout.
Remember those wipes you got ready? Use all of them.
If it’s a girl, don’t wipe back to front.
Nobody wants a muddy front garden.
If it’s a boy, his willy is a weapon.
There'll be no warning siren or countdown - just hot piss all over you. And that’s if you’re lucky - if you’re unlucky he’ll wazz into his own face and seem to love it, leaving you feeling rather disturbed. And curious.
Hold their legs. Tight.
They’ll try to Riverdance their way through their own bumjuice. They must be stopped.
That beautiful nursey wall you spent hours painting before the baby arrived, singing lullabies and feeling happier that you can ever remember? Totally splattered with shit in 5 seconds.
Grab their hands too.
It feels like you’re holding down a patient as you put them into a straightjacket but wriggling isn’t welcome here. My boys believe their fresh excrement being on show is a perfect occasion to do the Y.M.C.A.
Wrap that dirty nappy up tight.
Like an enchilada, ideally. Otherwise your bin will stink like Willy Wonka’s jock strap.
Get the new nappy on, now!
Lift their bum up and slide it underneath like a coaster. Pull the ties up and stick them down properly.
You’re making me really anxious. Pull yourself together.
If you haven’t pulled the flaps out, go back to the beginning. You have failed.
You weren’t listening were you? You might as well not bother changing them now as your ineptitude has just enabled something messier than the Happy Monday’s tour bus all over your sofa.
I know your shame, I’ve been there myself. Read my account here.
If you’ve pulled the flaps out, you have completed your mission.
Well done. Allow yourself a short moment of smugness.
Don’t get cocky.
You have won today’s battle but make no mistake, your baby will win this dirty war. Enjoy your small victory and get ready to go again. And don’t bite your nails.