By my calculations, I think I’ve changed somewhere around 8,004 diapers since January 21, 2009, the day my oldest child was born.
I was SO into it all back then. I was SO into the idea of being the hands-on dad who never shied away from getting his hands dirty (OMG: the blowouts). Day, night, poop, pee, the nuggets, the runs, the popcorn, and all that strange dark infant stuff that you think is so cute when you’re a first-time parent but that you look back on and think, “WTF was that all about??!!”… I did it all.
I’m not patting myself on the back for that; of course every dad should be changing diapers. Every parent deserves to pay their diaper dues.
But I can’t hold this in anymore, people.
I’m so freakin’ over it. I’m DONE.
Charlie, my youngest and my last, is 2 years old now. I love him more than free pizza for life, but I’m not going to lie. I need him to get up on that hopper and make some magic happen yesterday.
He’s trying, I’ll give him that.
He’s onto the concept of the potty and what needs to happen in the bathroom to make his dad get all giddy and dance around like a very happy drunk. But most of the time, he’s just messing with me, people.
The little dude is in love with flushing.
He gets me all worked up — grabbing my pants leg, looking up at me, and saying,”POTTY!” real loud and clear.
My 44-year-old self gets SO excited. My heart starts pounding fast and furious as we climb up the steps toward the bathroom together. Then he kills me with the fake out, because once we’re there, he totally bails on the actual “going potty” part of the deal.
It never fails. He gets me every time.
See, Charlie just wants to hit that flusher again and again, and he’s dialed in the exact way to make that happen. Flirt with dad’s diaper exhaustion and tah-dah — you get to flush the toilet.
Steam comes out of my eyes, and I growl dragon growls. Charlie looks up at me and smiles. I back down; trust me, you would too.
Please hear me out though — I’m not complaining. Okay, yes I am — of course I am, but still. I know I could probably be doing more to shake these diaper years once and for all. There are tricks and skill involved in moving a child out of diapers up that Potty Mountain. And I’ve gotten lazy.
I just need an app, I think.
Can’t there be an app I buy for a couple of bucks from Apple?! I download Potty Laser IV for a couple of bucks, point my phone at Charlie right after he’s sucked down another 55 gallon drum of apple juice, push a button, and BOOM! The kid runs upstairs, pees in the loo, and everyone lives happily ever after!
Is that asking too much at this stage in the game? C’mon. I’m three kids in over here. I’ve spent $50 million on diapers in seven years. And the stink has fallen off the rose.
Yet here’s the thing: despite the fact that I’ve grown weary of seeing spare diapers scattered like autumn leaves across the back of my Honda, I know there will be some part of me, albeit a very tiny sliver, that is going to miss these diaper days.
It’s just the way being a mom or dad goes. It’s like: we get so used to all of these thankless responsibilities that after a while we start to resent them in certain ways. And then suddenly the kids are potty trained and you’re no longer needed in a certain capacity that you’ve been needed in ever since the day he or she was born and it hurts. Deep down it pokes your heart, a not-so-gentle reminder that you are fading to the background.
Isn’t that weird to think about?
They need us to help them with everything and then one day they need us a little less. Then a whole lot less. It messes with my mind. And so despite the fact that I’m 1,000 percent over the whole second-nature groove I’ve developed whenever I head into the grocery store with all three kids in tow and automatically shove two diapers and the travel wipes pack in the bottom of the shopping cart, I still have to be honest with myself.
The end of an era is fast approaching. And a huge part of my identity is about to slip away from me forever. I was a hands-on dad from the get-go. Three kids and all of those diapers, I was in on all of it from the very moment our baby daughter came to us over seven years ago. I never complained (mostly) because I wanted to be there. I wanted to try and make them laugh or at least giggle while I was knuckle deep in their latest mess. It became a massive part of my life, changing freakin’ diapers did.
But soon I’ll have to say goodbye to all that.
And that’ll make me cry. I know it will.
That’ll make me glance up at the vast blue sky and sigh — a tear rolling down my old man cheek. Oh, Father Time. Oh, how you move so fast.
Then I’ll raise both fists in the air and scream at the top of my lungs as I do backflip cartwheels right onto the freeway, I don’t even care.
“YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!” I’ll holler at all the cars whipping by me. “I AM DONE WITH DIAPERS FOREVER! I’M FREE! I’M FREE, I’M FREE, I’M FREE! I’M A FREE, FREE MAN!!”
So you happen to be changing your kid’s diaper at the park, and you spot a guy standing maybe 50 yards away staring at you, pointing your way, trying hard to cover his face even though you get the strange feeling he’s chuckling at your little scene, do me a favor, will ya?
Do your best not to walk over and slam him upside the head with that four-pound diaper you just pulled off your little juice guzzler.
Show a little mercy. Because chances are it’s me. And I’m just an old washed-up diaper vet laughing along with you, I swear.More On