Dads and Diapers

Changing my daughterís diapers changed how I viewed time with her. Somewhere amid the smell, mayhem, screaming and confusion of diaper-changing, I learned to enjoy time with my daughter -- even the smelly parts.

In the 16 months since the "blessed event" of McKennaís birth, Iíve learned that "bonding" is a fancy word for enjoying. Thereís a myth that special activities or skills are required to bond with our children. Folks, I ainít buying that. Bonding with your child is very simple: spend time with them, and enjoy it. Itís that simple, and that difficult. No shortcuts allowed. No "quality time" bonus points. No expensive toys to assuage guilt. No excuses, no substitutions. Fortunately, with your child you can find enjoyment almost everywhere if you know how to look.

Diaper-changing taught me a secret kept from dads: changing diapers can be fun and a wonderful bonding time with your baby. Now stop laughing and listen. After all, Iím not some soon-to-be dad boasting what he will do with his child. I have the bruises to show I practice what I preach. Let me see if I can save you some time, and help you get to this daddy-diaper-changing enjoyment faster than I did.

Since the beginning, Sandy and I about evenly split diaper duties (Honest moms, sheíll back me up). In the beginning, my goal was to change the diaper faster than an Indy pit crew. Iíd brag to Sandy that I was the fastest diaper-changer in the west. Frankly, with a newborn child, the process could go very quickly. So quickly that I never stopped to enjoy McKenna.

After a couple of months my concentration slipped and I actually played with McKenna.

Iíd move her arms and legs in circles, sing a song, kiss her, and make her giggle. Dammed if we didnít love it. Diaper changes got longer, but I began to enjoy the journey with McKenna.

As McKenna got older, she would no longer lie still while I changed her. She wanted to "participate". At first, as a naive first-time dad, I tried to insist she lie down. This didnít work, so I learned to go with the flow, and diaper-changing became a contact sport. Next, she wanted to stand and look out the window. So I adapted and learned to change her diaper while she was standing. She wanted toys to play with, so I lined the windowsill with toys including the box of diaper wipes, which she insisted I open (for those without kids, "insisting" means "screeching until either she gets what she wants or the window shatters"). She took each diaper wipe out of the box, separated them, and blew her nose with each one. It gets more challenging as they get older. Flow with it.