It has been quiet in his sector … too quiet. Times like this make it hard to relax. The anticipation … it’s created tension. Tension so thick you can cut it with a knife. This calm before the storm is unsettling, why hasn’t it happened yet?
Then he sees it, the signal. A slight grimace, an almost inaudible grunt. But he is a man; grunts speak volumes to him. As he is an old hand at this there’s no mistaking the signal. Suddenly he is on his feet, moving across the room. Without slowing he plucks the 15 pound package and heads down the hall.
The door explodes open as his eyes search for something. Then he spies it, a workspace, a table made for this purpose. As he moves toward it he maintains that delicate balance of supporting his priceless load without soiling his favorite T-shirt.
Lightly he places the wriggling mass down. Throwing the strap over it, securing it without thinking. The action performed so many times it is automatic. Lesser men may need the extra safety measure, and while he doesn’t, safety isn’t something you scrimp on.
Anticipating what await him, he steels himself as he peels away the first layer. He was not, however, prepared for the barrage that assaults his senses upon exposure to air. It is his nemesis, his arch enemy, the bane of his very existence. Yes, he faces the horror of the poopy diaper.
Undaunted, he faces the challenge head on as he snatches baby wipe after baby wipe. Some would be tempted to be conservative at this stage in the game, but he knows better. The nurse’s voice still rings in his head with her simple yet sound advice, “every nook and cranny.” And that is exactly what he cleans, every nook and cranny. To not do so would invite disaster.
Not that he would know from personal experience. No, he has heard the rumors, rashes, chaffing. Consequences too dire to imagine. But not with his baby, not on his watch he vows.
He quickly inspects his handiwork. Glistening clean and soft as, well, a baby’s butt. Which is a good thing, because that is what it is, a baby’s butt. With a deft flick of the wrist the perfect amount of powder is delivered. Sure, some dump from above or squeeze the bottle, amateurs. But he is the pinnacle of his kind. The best of his breed, a stay home Dad. Rookie mistakes just aren’t in his makeup. After a fresh new diaper is put on and the pants replaced the baby is deposited back in the center of the floor to continue playing.
But his job does not end there. There may be a brownie situation brewing. They have been in the oven a long time … too long. And the unspeakable horror of burnt brownies are too much for this father to imagine. So it’s off to the kitchen he goes; just another mission for the stay home dad.
Background: Obviously, this was written when I was a stay home dad. I thought it was funny that some dads tried to make what they did seem heroic. Women have been staying home to take care of the kids since the beginning of time, it is just our turn now.