Posts Tagged ‘moms’


The restroom with the romantically lit changing table, nestled in the dark corner of the handicap stall was more attractive than practical to me. I should have known. It would, however, become the infamous locale of my first public diaper change. Like Chernobyl, Mount Vesuvius in Pompey, Mount St Helens, Omaha Beach, and so many other explosive landmarks related to less than happy occurrences in humanity’s illustrious history, this romantically lit changing table, nestled in the dark corner of the handicap stall would become a place of infamy.
Such an unassuming changing table extended from the rear wall of the roomiest stall, in an elegantly lit bathroom, where candles caused shadows to flicker and creep across the walls marking my movement from the entryway to my pending doom. Darkness came to gather in the corner of the stall and ultimately settled over the innocent looking changing table smothering any existing light and dulling it to an orange glow.
Reaching out my hand and placing the perfectly organized diaper bag on the cozy table, my finger grazed the top of the hard plastic meant to hold a soiled and yet sleeping baby girl. Sleeping for the moment….The resulting cold permeated through my hand resonating outward, inward, and upward following paths forged in the womb decades ago. It should have been the omen I needed to turn away–my impetus to seek refuge elsewhere, but inside the darkened catacombs of my brain, came a reassuring echo. The echoing voice should have been the omen I needed to turn away, because it was the same voice that has failed me repeatedly, relentlessly and reliably. The voice was there at the grocery store and told me to steal that candy and sealed my fate. I heard its words tell me to drink the beers that made me run when the cabbie came. The voice is pleased to meet you, I hope you guessed its name….
My daughter rested in my left arm with her head kind of hanging off of the side like a drunken sailor being carried back to his ship after an all night bender by the shore patrol. She wore a onesie covered in dancing kittens made of the softest fleece Target could import from China. I remembered the steps leading me to this moment, and the looks from the other diners at this fine establishment with an equally fine changing table, nestled in the dark corner of an elegantly lit restroom. My walk was met with the approving eyes of mothers at other tables. Their smiles seemed to say, “Look at you, fine sir, taking an active role in caring for this child…” I nodded at them in recognition of their recognition of my contribution to my child’s rearing. I was proud and knew that, in me getting this changing right, I was showing my wife that we were still normal and could function outside of our home. This moment had to happen, and I had to be successful, because the world hinged upon the outcome; the entire world hinged upon this single instant in my life.
Changing the child is a routine that offers little forgiveness. The child cares not whether she is wearing a diaper and will do her business even if it is not convenient for the individual changing her. I know that this is true because earlier in the day, Whitney had been very kind in explaining to me that my method for changing the child was flawed. I was surprised at the detail with which she was able to describe the flaws in my style; furthermore, I was surprised at the rehearsed nature of her suggestions. Whitney spent quite a bit of her suggestioning on the amount of time I leave the baby without any diaper beneath her when transitioning from old to new diaper. I remember thinking, “What does she know? I am a winner and I am not going to be trifled by suggestions.”
The stage was set; the players were in position, and the show was about to begin. You enter into the changing process happy. You are happy because you are doing something to help your child be more comfortable. I hate sitting in my own urine, and therefore, I do not want my child to sit in her urine–it seems logical that this child would be extremely happy to not be sitting in their own urine. I learned in the elegantly lit stall that a baby girl is just as illogical as a grown one.

All Hell Breaks Loose

My routine is simple: I undo the bottom portion of the onesie and fold it backwards so that it is not directly underneath what I call the blast zone. At this point, I am ready to make the move and remove the diaper. Things are going so well to this moment. I remove the straps from the diaper, grip her feet together and gently lift her little butt off of the soiled diaper to remove it. Again, complete success. Flashback to the cold I described earlier in overly, and unnecessarily verbose hyperbole. That same cold was about to travel through her tiny cheeks paralyzing her body and causing all hell to break loose even with the thin paper changing pad I put down to pad the plastic. The resulting chain of events has changed the course of diaper changing history. Initially, this baby girl was stunned by the cold and relatively silent, but her face contorted into that of an old man, and in the candlelit orange glow, I thought her face was a cherry red hue. To increase the cold factor two times, I forgot to warm the baby wipe with my hands before “prepping the landing zone” for the new diaper. It didn’t seem to increase the old man face, so I continued. In the slowest possible manner, I turned my attention to the new diaper.
Diapers come all folded in a manner conducive to packaging into the smallest container possible, and this in itself is not a huge issue, but the fact that I left the diaper in the bottom of the diaper bag, is. I pulled the diaper out, extended the diaper to the correct proportions for applying, and I looked back to beautiful baby girl. To my surprise, laying quiet and warm, on top of the folded up legs of her onesie, in a pool of her own urine, was my daughter. Urine. The amount of pee was unreal. It was like a urine-soaked crime scene. The folded up onesie had absorbed a great deal of the urine, but there was still excess enough urine to pool off of the sides of the table, making splashing sound as it hit the tile floor, which echoed through the elegantly lit bathroom. I picked up the child and looked onto the carnage from above. There was no doubt about it, my daughter would not leave the elegantly lit restroom in dancing kittens. Her onesie was the first thing to die that day–the second was my pride. Maybe Whitney would think it was normal for a changing to take 20 minutes….Maybe Whitney would not remember that it was dancing kittens, and would accept little monkeys without question. Maybe, if she did recognize these small details, she wouldn’t immediately connect the dots and ask if I waited too long to get the new diaper under the baby….
I cleaned up my mess. I wrung the urine out of the dancing kittens. The torque from my wringing of the fabric had left the dancing kittens looking like a bunch of white people dancing on the club floor. I dressed the baby in the spare onesie with little monkeys and said, “Monkeys look a bit like kittens,” and I walked out from the elegantly lit restroom into the cacophonous conversations of diners chatting on the path towards my table. I could see the look on Whitney’s face from forty feet away. I swear I saw her mouth the word, “monkeys?” inquisitive tone and all. How did this woman see monkeys from that far away. I tried not to make eye contact and just pretended all was normal. Whitney leaned in and smiled at the baby and said in a happy sounding, make your baby smile kinda voice, “daddy didn’t listen to mommy, did he……” I stayed quiet and thought, “stupid dancing kittens…..”

I just want you to know, because I have been holding it in for years……

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I can feel it, there is a baby eager to make her way into the world and meet her father….and her mother too, I guess, but she has been with her mother for a good nine months now, so that is probably nowhere near as exciting as meeting me.  I would want to meet me if I was her. 

There are two types of fathers in this world.  Trust me; I have done extensive research (meaning I asked three people their opinions and a simple majority confirmed it).  First there is the father who will not venture below the waistline during the evolution of labor.  They want nothing to do with what is going on in the nether regions during the most critical stage of the birthing miracle.  The “above the waisters,” henceforth referred to as ATWs, are not wrong for their longing to keep clear of the “zone of the unimaginable,” because what happens down there doesn’t make a whole bunch of sense. 

For one moment in time, all the pressure and energy of a woman’s being is centered on an area that the man has been centering all of his pressure, energy, and attention on for years.  Now, in an ironic twist, the ATW has decided this magical place we men never quite understood, but were lured to like a moth to a flame, is best left alone and he becomes a cheerleader rooting his wife on, face to face.  He leans into her, giving her an arm or finger to squeeze, and says glittering generalities surrounding motivational phrases we used to scream from sidelines, dugouts, and bleachers during sporting events. 

Trust me, ATWs say the same things to their wives during labor that they would when a man gets up to bat and there are two runners on in the late innings of a baseball game.  They just make it sound more breathy and motivating.  During a game, we yell to our teammates, “This is your time, brother, pick one and drive it, don’t leave them stranded out there on base, bring ‘em home.”  During labor, the ATWs go with what they know, they lean in and say, “This is your time, you’re a mother, concentrate and drive through the next push, don’t leave that girl in there, we need to bring her home.”  ATWs never stray too far from what they know.  The mother has become a teammate and they are going to get her through this very individual moment in what is generally a team sport.

The second type of father is a militaristic man (MM), not to imply that he is more of a man than his counterpart, ATW, but that he is very different.  He is a man who is trained to be at the most chaotic point of any evolution.  He believes that is the place where he can provide the best support to the woman in her moment of peril.  The MM believes that the point of friction is where he should be shouting out orders and organizing the next combative muscle movements.  He needs to see the breach point and somehow find a way to gain the initiative and exploit the enemy.  In the case of labor, nature is the enemy, and the natural process of birth is a thinking, breathing, and adaptive enemy at that. 

The MM thinks in terms of objectives, phase lines, stages, and culminating points.  He has divided up “Operation Baby Boom” into distinct phases, and even more specifically, into smaller stages.  He is looking for the best moment to mass his combat power and engage the enemy in what he refers to decisive action.  The woman lying on the bed is his main effort, and the doctors surrounding her are all supporting efforts.  Should something go wrong, the doctors are poised, and ready to assume the main effort.  The MM has briefed all parties involved and he is ready to cross the line of departure. 

The MM has his head right into the business area of his wife’s nether area.  He is fighting back pushing the doctors out of the way and doing this himself.  He is intrigued by the entire process.  Sure, he shouts out motivational phrases, but they are less like cheerleading and much more specific.  After a push, he looks up and gives his wife a situation report (SITREP).  The SITREP includes basic information about the evolution.  “Good push, I believe the baby is close to crowning, the next push is going to be an important one for us, I need you to really bear down; we have the enemy on their heels, and I think that they are just about out of options. The contraction lasted 90 seconds, and was three minutes and thirty seconds from your last.  Using this as a gauge for the next one I believe we can consolidate and rest for two more minutes, but then we will need to press forward. Stand by.” 

Without restraint from hospital personnel, the MM will not contain himself when the baby crowns, he will reach up there and pull the baby through the obstacle belt.  The MM doesn’t understand why the labor takes more than 15 to 20 minutes, and seems to be rushing the process the entire time.  And, as is the case with many military planners, the MM doesn’t necessarily have the best exit strategy.  Once the baby is out of the womb and laying there in all of his or her glory, the MM is overly emotional, and cannot figure out what to do with his hands.  He doesn’t know how to hold a baby, but he is dying to try.  The MM has never felt more masculine than he does at the moment he sees his baby, and this baby is his next General Officer…

I am certain that I will be the father who is all up in my wife’s business.  I am excited and ready for this to occur, and all signs in my house are that this kid is coming with a vengeance in the next few weeks.  I cannot write anymore today, as I have to put together a crib.  Earlier this week I put together a stroller, and a car seat thingy.  We are surrounded by bottle whozits, and pink whatzits, and breast feeding thing-a-mbobs, and some kind of diaper changing magic place.  I have been tasked by my wife to help her nest and I have some required reading to complete on the subject of sleep schedules.  Right now, she is snoring to my left because she can only sleep in small bursts.  The baby has infiltrated every aspect of her life.  This baby, not yet born, has infiltrated every aspect of my life, and I couldn’t be happier.

I just wanted you to know, because I have been holding it in for years.