Friday, April 25, 2014

PREPARE TO PARENT!

In my mental preparations for fatherhood, I have spent much of my time musing about issues such as race, transracial families, culture, and other potential problems that my daughter might face as an international adoptee.  What I haven't really prepared for are the more mundane issues that are the stuff of daily life for a parent.  Fortunately, I had a chat with a good friend of mine who is himself a new-ish father (his son is nearly three), and that brings a little focus to the more immediate problems.  Let's start with something simple:
 
The Diaper Bag.
 
I've seen plenty of people - including good friends - lugging these things around, but I'd never given any more thought to what is in them than I do to what's in a Twinkie (less, actually).  Oh, sure: diapers!  And perhaps talcum powder and... well... whatever other supplies are necessary for the disugsting, degrading, nauseating and all-around revolting task of changing a diaper.  I have done this exactly once in my life; the sun grew dark in my eyes, my head swam, and... and... I've managed to almost block out that memory.*  Suffice it to say that I had planned never to do it again, and so I've taken little interest in the methods and required equipment.
 
Unfortunately, my wife is adamant that I WILL have to do this, that handing our daughter over to the first woman I can flag down it is NOT an acceptable plan, and that, if I don't stop crying, come out of our closet and get my thumb out of my mouth, she'll give me something to cry about.  Life is so unfair...
 
This being the case, I listened with interest to my friend's description of their diaper bag.  I quickly got the idea that paratroopers preparing to jump into enemy territory have a shorter packing list.  Not only does the bag have to have spare diapers, wipes, talcum, and other necessary items for changing the diaper, one has to consider that the child may need a complete change of clothing.  Or two.  While you're at it, might as well take into account the child's other needs: formula and bottle and / or snacks (so they can start loading up for the next diaper change), a toy or two and maybe a book to occupy them when they get bored, and sturdy ziplock bags for holding soiled garments.  Another thing my friend pointed out by way of a rather graphic anecdote is that the PARENT may also get... messy... and have to clean up and change HIS clothes, too.
 
No wonder ol' Dad usually gets told off to carry the Diaper Bag: I think I humped around less in my rucksack when I was in the Army.
 

Mommy's Day Off: A group of new fathers prepare to take their children to the park

 
As you may imagine, I questioned my friend very closely about potty training.  I was relieved to learn that this is not really conceptually different than housebreaking a dog (though rubbing the child's nose in it is apparently frowned upon, likewise confining him to a crate).  Rewards are your friend!  The child gets it into the potty and NOT into the diaper and he gets a liver treat... er... a piece of candy.  Apparently, this works like a charm.  Now, it may be that my daughter will be too young to potty train for some months after we finally get her home.  Nevertheless, I am certainly going to try.  Oh, yes, I will try.  And even if she doesn't get the candy, I'll certainly need it.  Along with a stiff drink.
 
My friend suggested another helpful idea: Potty Bootcamp.
 
 

"YOU WILL DO THAT IN THE POTTY, PRIVATE, OR I WILL RIP OFF YOUR HEAD AND..."

 
No, wrong again.  Where DO I get these ideas?
 
He and his wife took advantage of a vacation to do intensive potty training.  Free from the needs to be at work, on the computer, answering phone calls, etc., they could let their son run free while keeping a close eye on him.  At the first signs of impending... um... relief, off to the bathroom where they kept a stash of candy.  Result: their little boy pretty rapidly got the idea and, while he's not yet old enough to make it through the night and has the occasional accident, they are changing a LOT fewer diapers.
 
Finally, while I had some vague notion that adding another person to the party might cause some slight problems with time management, I learn that one is wise to set aside QUITE a lot of extra time and prepare to leave for appointments much earlier than usual.  Who would have thought that dressing a small person could be so time-consuming?  But, apparently, wrestling a toddler into her coat - after, I gather, finding the one that she actually will wear without going into a crying fit - takes quite a lot of time.
 
Hmmm...
 
The back of the closet is looking better all the time.
 
 
===
 
(*) I DO recall enough to know that Gold Bond and talcum are NOT the same thing, and that what feels good on my feet apparently doesn't feel good on a baby's bottom.

8 comments:

  1. Jim, If you are still in the market for your Daddy diaper bag, check out the Baby Sherpa. Oh, and don't forget the butt paste:)

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    1. Thanks for the tip.

      Funny story about Butt Paste: my friend (same felllow as in the post above) put me on to it a few years ago... to avoid rashes when hiking!

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  3. Jim -
    Haha! I loved this post. It made me laugh several times. My husbands sentiment exactly. We even found a diaper bag that was neutral enough for him to carry. Diaper changing will he ok - it's just really hard in an airplane bathroom! Find the one with the baby changing station, helpful hint!
    I think you've got the continents just about covered.
    Don't worry you only have to carry it for a few years :)
    Ally

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    1. I'm told that it's different when it's your own child.

      Oh, I hope so!!!

      May I ask about the diaper bag?

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  4. The diaper bag was a grey and green one - not too expensive - one we could both carry and we got it at Babies r us! We also found a backpack worked very well. In fact the backpack soon best out the diaper bag and Jim would always carry it! A win win if you ask me :)

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  5. The backpack beat out !! Not best out - auto correct kills me sometimes . The diaper bag was made by Chicco and was a tote kind
    http://www.chiccousa.com/gear/diaper-bags.aspx
    Check it out

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