Adventures In fatherhood

Diaper changes are serious business around my house.
After 2 ½ years of multiple diaper changes every day, it’s gotten quite old I must admit.

While I do not want to rush or wish any part of my kids’ lives away, I am anxious for the time they will be out of diapers.

It will be a day to cheer for a number of reasons, including the fact it will appear as if the household has gotten a financial raise because diapers and all the other required items are not cheap.

My oldest son, Beckett, is currently transitioning out of diapers. It’s been a slow process with the potty training, particularly with the more time-consuming aspect of the job at hand, but he seems to be getting the hang of it in general.

That’s a good thing because changing his diaper is no fun at all. It’s typically an intense wrestling match, consisting of some serious kicking these days. There’s nothing quite like a kick to the head or ribs by your kid to rattle the nerves and test the patience.

During a recent trip upstairs, Beckett repeatedly alerted me to the serious nature of the situation in his diaper (I found that funny), while also sending me another warning of sorts, saying, “I’m going to kick Daddy” (not exactly something to relish).

It turns out he wasn’t kidding with either comment, as it was only a few minutes later that he was furiously kicking his legs with all his might (I will spare the diaper details). At one point, he landed a solid shot to the side of my head when I kneeled down to get the diaper he had booted out of my hand just a few seconds before.

When I reacted as anticipated, he immediately reached his arms out for a hug, saying, “I love you Daddy.”

It’s truly shocking how sweet and innocent he can be at one moment, while menacing and incredibly troubling at other times.

The most unfortunate part of this diaper drama is that Carson, his younger brother, has observed this behavior over time. He idolizes Beckett and is continually picking up some of his disturbing habits. The latest is being an absolute menace to change.

Rather than kicking, he’s more of the squirming type, refusing to lie on his back for the deed to be done and constantly fighting to get to his stomach and crawl away.

On a particularly memorable occasion, he managed to push himself entirely off the diaper-changing table, leaving me holding on to him by one foot. There was my 1-year-old, dangling upside down off the side of the table with nothing but a T-shirt and two socks and a huge smile on his face. When I managed to get him upright, he laughed and laughed and tried to do it again.

Not even the strap on the diaper-changing table does the trick with him because he finds that challenge to be fun, wiggling out of it in short order. He almost always manages to get to the point his head is hanging off the end of the table, laughing all the while.

At some point, we should videotape these situations and maybe someday I will reflect fondly on these times, but it’s not going to be anytime soon.

When a parent falls sick, life gets a little tricky around the house.

That happened last Saturday when Pam was laid up for 24 hours, leaving me susceptible to a kid double team.

I don’t know if everyone handles it this way, but when either of us gets ill, our approach is isolation from the kids is best.

This happened last year around this time of year with me, so Pam took over all aspects of parenting. The shoe was on the other foot last weekend, and my boys were “man-up” on me.

I’m happy to say I survived and actually enjoyed the day with my sons. However, it was certainly good news when their mom returned to the fold the next day.

The key for me was to get outside with them as much as possible because they are a handful in the house, and things can get quite noisy and chaotic, particularly with Beckett, who is a walking train wreck, as evidenced by the mess he left behind.

Two visits to the playground were surely the highlights for them, and I even managed a grocery store trip, which is not an easy feat with two kids. However, a little creative thinking, providing constant distractions for Beckett and a backpack for Carson did the trick.

The key with putting a kid in a backpack is remembering he’s there. That seems silly. After all, he weighs 25 pounds and moves a lot, so one would think it’s difficult to forget he’s strapped to your back.

I have found that not always to be the case, as there were a couple moments when I looked back to find Carson had managed to grab an item or two off a shelf. Without a rearview mirror to see him, it was difficult to know if he had anything in his little hands until it was dropped on the floor or banging me in the back of the head.

There was another occasion when I made a sharp turn and Carson’s leg was bumped by a shelf. I worried briefly whether he was okay, but he quickly giggled.

Fortunately, it was a beautiful day and we were able to spend most of it outside or at least out of the house. Combine a rainy day, a sick parent and cabin fever, and I would be the one having the major meltdown. Plus, there could have been some injuries.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.