The other night the wife asked me to choose one: make the bottles to take to day care, or change a dirty diaper and get the kid ready for bed.
Obviously one was simple, would take a few minutes and could be done with a cocktail nearby. The other involved poop.
I chose to change the diaper.
What an idiot, you must be thinking, this guy was given an easy out and he’s too stupid to recognize it.
Even through a squirming kid who, at any second, could fall right off the changing table and concuss herself, and a dirty diaper and trying to squeeze my child’s Michelin Man thighs into a footed onesie (is that the right term? I don’t know), I had a blast. I’m also the same moron who smiled throughout his entire half-marathon last week. No, I’m not a masochist.
Don’t tell my wife – and guys, if the following is true about you, too, keep it a secret – but I actually enjoy changing a diaper. OK, “enjoy” is probably the wrong word. But “tolerate” is too light. It’s almost like “toler-joy.”
The reason? For those few moments when I’m holding my kid down with one hand, wiping with another hand, and somehow mysteriously still manage to get a diaper changed in a reasonable amount of time, it’s just me and my daughter.
Cue Bill Withers. “Just the Two of Us.”
I talk to her. Woah! Ella! That is a giant poop! Daddy is proud of you!
I sing to her. Ella, Bo-Bella, you are a poo-ping mach-ine! Now let’s get you cleeeeaaannn!
I make her giggle and she returns the favor. It’s kind of like the whole Seven Dwarfs mantra of whistling while you work. I’m not trying to wax poetic here about my kid growing up so fast and I only have so many moments I can squeeze out of it before she’s gallivanting around with her friends … c’mon, she’s eight months old. I just enjoy the moments of her and I together when she’s not crying her face off.
Another reason I chose diaper duty was because of an interview I read where Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco was proud of the fact he hadn’t changed many diapers and had left that duty to his wife, telling Dan Patrick, “I’ve only changed two or three diapers in my lifetime. My wife takes care of those duties.”
That’s something to be proud of?
Look, Joe, you can pretty much win any argument in your house by pulling the “How many Super Bowls have you won?” or “Have you recently signed a $121 million contract?” but at the same time you shouldn’t be bragging that you’re shying away from fathering duties.
I don’t know much about being a dad – I only have 32 weeks of experience – but I do know that you should recognize any ability to have a one-on-one bond with your kid. Whether it’s over baseball, or running, or playing with a monkey toy whose batteries just will not freaking die, or working around a diaper whose weight is being mightily tested, you just do it. And you put a fucking smile on your face and you enjoy it.
Why? Because it’s life. And life is fun.
Whistle while you work.