The road to Hell is paved with Pampers

Diapers. When will I see the last of them?

I’ve got one kid still in diapers, and he doesn’t seem in any big hurry for us to move on.

The amount of money I’ve spent on diapers makes me a little sad that my boys will have to find a way to pay for college on their own. If only I’d followed my instincts and raised these kids in a barn, with a shovel and a hose, we might be able to pay for college one day. Instead, we enjoyed years of warm, dry bottoms. Who can say if we did right?

Big Man wears a size 5 diaper. He’s worn a 5 since he was about six months old. That was two years ago. I can’t bear to get him a size 6, because the kid on the size 6 box looks like he’s about eight years old. I don’t want to give Big Man any ideas about how it’s okay to just do your own thing if it feels right. It’s not okay. He’s going to have to make some tough decisions before community college slips out of reach too.

He’s not even 3 yet, so I don’t want to rush him, except I want to rush him. I’ve been buying, changing, and smelling diapers almost constantly for 8+ years. I’m ready to put them behind me, figuratively, for the few years I’ve got left before I have to start putting them behind me literally. God knows I lack the resources to afford Pampers and Depends concurrently.

"You toss him up in the air and I'll catch him in this."

“You toss him up in the air and I’ll catch him in this.” (Image: Esther Bubley, U.S. Farm Security Administration)

Big Man seems very content to remain in diapers for the foreseeable future. Once in a while, he will tease us by asking to go on the potty, but this is not an evolution so much as it is a precious chance to toy with our emotions. The only smell better than the aroma of one’s own dirty diaper is the smoky odor of burnt parental hopes. It’s a toddler thing.

My wife is not as eager to get out of the diaper trade as I am. She would start all over again with a new baby in a heartbeat. If she had her way, she would always have an infant in the house, which is the definition of insanity. She’ll keep wanting new babies while she’s playing bingo in the Sunshine Home.

I like babies too. They’re cute and nice to hold for a little while, but when it comes to owning any more of them, I’m cashed out. I’m too close to the light at the end of the diaper tunnel to turn back. I’m so close I can almost not smell it.

All I need now is for a certain little boy to get serious about earning an Associate’s Degree.

Then it’s a few good years of freedom, and off to the Sunshine Home. Unlike my wife, when I get to the Home, I’m not giving a single thought to changing another diaper, not even my own.

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And the award for Parent of the Most Civilized Pooping Child goes to . . .

Since I first became a parent, I’ve been taking an informal survey on how old children are when they complete potty training.  This has been an unintentional survey; I’ve never asked parents how long it took to potty train their children. Yet, scads of parents seem to think I want to know. The word potty can’t come up in conversation without people laying out the impressive timetables of their children’s migrations to the toilet.

Due to the unwilling nature of my research, I have never recorded the results of my survey. This could have the slight potential to erode the credibility of the findings. The only result of which I am certain is that 0.00% of respondents’ children took longer to potty train than my own.

My two potty trained children became so somewhere in the three-year-old range. The remaining child seems on pace to match that timing. When it comes to deciding where to poop, I thought I had pretty normal kids. The older two, in their own time, came around to a decision I can endorse. I have high hopes the third will eventually see the wisdom in their choices. On the other hand, I can’t honestly argue that a diaper isn’t a convenient alternative when you’re on the run.

Assuming my youngest takes approximately the same time to potty train as his brothers, he represents the third strike in my beginning hypothesis that my children are normal. It will prove beyond the margin of error that they are outliers – sluggard, ne’er-do-well poopers – the slowest children ever to be potty trained.

Further research has confirmed my fears about the futures of poorly trained children like my own. Source: Delusional Parent Magazine.

Further research has confirmed my fears about the futures of poorly trained children like my own. Source: Delusional Parent Magazine.

The stats don’t lie. And the stats are backed up by random, self-reported data from proud parents that happened to come up in conversation. These facts were presented to me by confident (almost beaming) individuals, through the famously unbiased memory of parenthood, who were prescient enough to ascertain that I was conducting a survey on this exact topic. That’s pretty solid, considering I didn’t even know I was conducting this survey. How can I begin to question the validity of such information?

Having not ever encountered a single survey subject whose children were slower to evolve than mine, I am left to consider the consequences of my children’s backwardness. Will these arrested beginnings hinder their futures? I fear so. None of the survey respondents who offered updates reported that their advanced pooping children are now incarcerated. And since someone has to fill the prisons, I can only conclude it will be the slow toilet adopters, of whom my children are, statistically, the slowest.

I know you’re probably thinking how brave it is of me to publicly admit these facts about my own beloved children. But now that I’ve done it, I wonder if I should have just lied about it. I can’t do that though. I wouldn’t want to be known as the first parent to embellish his children’s toilet skills.

Armageddon diaper

School’s out. This allowed me my first day at home caring for all three boys. No more dropping off Big Brother at kindergarten and spending my day off work juggling just Buster and New Baby. Now, we’re all in it together.

Though I do okay on my Mr. Mom days, we have our moments when things tend toward chaos.

New Baby likes his milk. He takes the bottle well, which is a giant boon to the father-infant relationship. After the bottle, he paints his diaper with his love of milk. This is a good thing; the system works – until it works too well.

I was holding him on my lap when I heard the first rumblings. Before I could react, the rumblings grew into a swelling tympani roll of flatulent evacuation. All of my facial orifices gaped wide as I realized there was no escaping an epic blowout.

rear view of baby's diaper

For those within the radius of total destruction, there is no point in running.

In horror I watched the goo rush up a gap in the back of the diaper. Like magma under volcanic pressure, it shot up the crevasse and spewed into the air. There was no hope for my clothes. I understood this and was resigned.

But we were sitting on the bare couch. I like my couch.

I’ve been peed on, spit on, puked on . . . but now that I’ve caught flying poop, I can truly say I’ve lived.

Get it before it stains the couch

Diving to catch a poop-fly before it falls in for a base shit.

I threw myself under the airborne globules and hugged my little poop grenade close, taking the brunt of his ick-splosion on my chest and lap. This wasn’t a little staining squirt. It was a flowing stream. I used the dry leg of my pants to sop the drenched leg so none would run onto the couch.

I was a human skid mark, but I saved the couch.

I rushed New Baby to the changing table, behind the couch. Laying him on the table inspired Buster to climb up the couch and offer assistance in pulling open the diaper tape. Since he could hardly touch this diaper without collecting a handful of carnage, I swatted Buster’s fingers away. With my other hand I unfastened the diaper and popped open the box of wipes.

The first wipe only spread the mess. I dropped it into the demolished diaper and blindly reached for another as I concentrated on keeping New Baby from wallowing in his own muck. My hand swept the space where the next wipe should protrude from the box, but came away with air. I swiped lower and hit the barren top of box. I plunged my finger into the box, and was rewarded by hard resistance from the bottom of the empty container.

Crisis situation

Nooooooooooo!!!!

Holding New Baby by his ankles, and blowing puffs of air at Buster to dissuade him from lending a hand, I rooted around beneath the table and found a new package of wipes. Getting it open was a moment of parental genius sublime beyond description.

Absorbent reinforcements at hand, I finally made headway against this pooptastrophe.

By the book

. . . on Daddy.

Sensing an opportune moment, Big Brother approached with his favorite question. “Daddy, what can we play?”

I invited him to follow my eyes as they surveyed the crapressionist art that was my front. “How about we play Nobody Poops on Daddy for the Rest of the Day? Doesn’t that sound like fun?”

“That’s not a real game.”

He’s right. It’s not a real game. It’s merely a happy dream I visit when I’m feeling optimistic about the near future.