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Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on December 17th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 41 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 41

Diaper days

Krider recalls his duties as a new dad

BY ROB KRIDER


In early December—while doing my best not to fall off of a rickety ladder as I tried to hang up the Christmas lights—I realized something sort of sad: My kids are teenagers now, which means Santa’s sleigh won’t bother to park on our roof this year to deliver remote control cars or a life-size Barbie. Teenagers are no fun on Christmas because they actually sleep in and only want cash in their stockings. I miss when my kids were small, when they loved toys, loved Santa, and loved to go to the bathroom in their pants. Well, I don’t actually miss that bathroom-in-the-pants part at all. Reminiscing about the toddler years made me realize that maybe teenagers aren’t so bad after all. You see, looking back, I realize I wasn’t much of a diaper daddy.

Back in the day, I didn’t enjoy letting my 2-year-old son sit in a dirty diaper any longer than he had to, I just knew my wife, whom I love, would be home at any minute to do it. I figured my son would feel better about the whole process if a professional handled it. It was better for us (read: me) to wait it out.

Minutes would tick by and I would think to myself, “He really needs a new diaper, but I REALLY don’t want to change it.” After half an hour rolled by and my wife still hadn’t come home, the smell would begin to settle in. I couldn’t ignore the stench. If my wife came home and sniffed a blatantly ignored dirty diaper, she would give me “The Look”—the one that said, “You’re a terrible father.” Of course, “The Look” only lasted a few seconds and it used to take me a little more than 20 minutes to change one stinky diaper. I figured I would just wait a little bit longer. If mom didn’t show up, it would just be the kid, three pounds of something very wretched, and me.

    At some point my son would begin to give me “The Look” (he learned it from his mother). After an hour, the toxicity of my son’s diaper would reach hazardous material level. “OK, OK,” I told my 2-year-old son.  “I’ll change your poopy diaper.” And, of course, that meant it was playtime for my son. “Come here!” I’d yell. Diaper changing always turned into a hide-and-seek-and-chase game. I’d run all over the house following the giggles and the smell. Then I’d finally tackle him and hold him down, which meant we could get the diaper-changing process started. But we couldn’t start until we found the diaper-changing supplies my wife kept hidden somewhere in the house for no rational reason that I can think of. This kid needed a new diaper 50 times a day; shouldn’t the stuff have been easily accessible? I asked my son, “Where are the diapers?” He’d just shrug and laugh at me. He never helped his dumb ol’ dad.

Finally, after a lengthy diaper scavenger hunt, I’d locate the supplies to begin the highly technical diaper changing procedure. With my son on the floor, I’d peel the sticky flaps of the diaper back to see what kind of secret, hidden surprise his diaper had for me. “Whoa!” Just as I’d suspected, it’d be a big one … that had aged a bit. I’d almost retreat and quit. My son would remain still on his back, actually having some pity for me. He always knew I was a worthless diaper changer, but at that moment I was all he had. I’d lift up his legs with one hand and try not to breathe. I wouldn’t be able to hold my breath any longer, eventually taking in a quick shallow breath. My gag reflex would kick in, as I’d try not to retch.  My son would laugh hysterically at the faces I’d make. “I’m glad you think this is hilarious! When I turn 80, we’ll trade places and see how you like it.”

I remember reaching for the baby wipe box and opening it up, finding, to my horror, the box had only one baby wipe left. I usually used half a box of wipes to change a standard diaper, but this diaper was a two-boxer. I would try my best to use the one last golden baby wipe, folding it, turning it, and using every inch of the little marvel of the modern industrial revolution to clean my son’s butt. Once the baby wipe had reached its maximum capacity and the bad stuff was getting on my skin, I’d realize I needed reinforcements. Yuck! I needed a wet washcloth, or maybe a wet beach towel. This was when I would try to reason with a 2-year-old: “I’m going to leave for just a second—don’t move and don’t put your hands in it,” I’d say. He’d look at me as if to say, “You old fool. Do you really think I understood any of that speech? And even if I did, which I would never admit, I’m only 2 years old. It’s in my DNA to make things more difficult in moments like these.” Ignoring the look of bewilderment on his face, I would trust what I told him would be sufficient, and I’d run into the bathroom to get the towels. Then I’d hear the pitter patter of little evil feet running down the hallway.

He’d run into the living room with his dirty little butt and sit on “The Man’s Chair”—my chair. I’d chase him into the living room like a tornado screaming, “What are you doing?!” The tone of my voice would always startle him and he’d cry. Immediately I would feel like a crappy dad. He was only 2, how could I have yelled and blamed him? I would pick up his naked body, apologize, and kiss him on the forehead, and we’d go back into his bedroom to finish cleaning him off and putting on a new diaper.

The diapers, unfortunately, didn’t come with assembly instructions, so I always improvised with a little duct tape. My son would forget all about how I yelled at him and quickly become absorbed in my diaper struggles. He and I survived these adventures, but every time as I’d get his clothes back on him, his mother would walk in the front door. I knew I should have stalled for a few more minutes so she could witness my heroism.

 

Rob was nationally ranked for his diaper-dodging skills at the amateur level. He nearly went pro and subsequently was nearly divorced that same year. Contact him through the editor at rmiller@santamariasun.com.