Everything's easier on a hippo.
Earlier this year, I babysat my 9-month-old niece for an hour and a half, alone. Six months later, due in part to my stunning success in keeping her alive for 90 minutes in Manhattan, I got another chance. Eight full hours–with a toddler who’s just about to hit the 15-month mark.
Before, Lila was almost entirely helpless. She could smile, she could cry, she could sleep–and that was about it. Now, she has wants, she has feelings, she has opinions–and she can even express at least a small percentage of them. The night before the big day, my most pressing concern was changing her diaper. I’d watched people change diapers, but I’d never done it myself. My wife and I practiced with a folded piece of paper towel, a small square of tape, and a stuffed hippopotamus. Somehow, my success wrapping a sheet of Bounty loosely around a lifeless object gave me the confidence that I would be able to handle the task on an actual person, with an actual diaper–including something called a “ruffle” that I was repeatedly warned I must be aware of.
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