Nothing makes me crankier than the idea that dads don’t have anything to do with the direct, day-to-day caretaking of a baby. I’m a caregiver for my son, just like my wife is. Ok, maybe not just like her–my mammary glands are non-functional–but aside from that, I take an equal part in making sure my son’s needs are met.
Case in point: a week ago my wife’s uncle (for the purposes of this blog, we’ll call him Buddy–mostly because that’s his name) had an 80th birthday party. The shindig was at a diner near Reading, PA. Although we’d already brought a gift, little Wolfe decided to make a special delivery in honor of the big day. (In case my metaphor isn’t clear–and it might not be, I’m extremely sleep deprived–he soiled his diaper.) No problem. Super dad was there and ready to be the clean up crew.
I took our little guy down the hall to the restrooms, but the men’s’ room was in the process of being cleaned. As I waited patiently, Wolfe went into high alert mode, wailing for all he was worth. The hostess, hearing my son’s not-so-delicate warblings, came over.
“Is there somebody in there?”
“I think they’re cleaning it,” I said.
She pushed open the door to the women’s room, did a quick recon, and motioned me to go in. “You can use the women’s room,” she said. “Besides, there’s no changing table in the men’s.”
Ok, no big deal. I haven’t been in a women’s room very often, but I have a basic understanding of the functionality. Relieved that I could finally calm my son down, I started the changing process. I assumed the hostess was standing sentry at the door. You know what they say about assumptions? Well, they’re right.
I had just whipped off the dirty diaper when the door clanged open. I was face-to-face with an eighty year old woman.
“Oh my goodness,” she said, and promptly exited.
A second later the door clanged back open. “Nope, I think this is the women’s.”
“You’re in the right one,” I said, gesturing at Wolfe. “I’m just changing my son’s diaper.”
I noticed I was pointing at his Good N Plentys and tried to pull his diaper up, realizing too late that I had it on backwards.
“Oh, such a good dad,” she said.
Now here’s where it gets weird.
She proceeded into the stall and started her business. I admired her for her workmanlike attitude. I, on the other hand, was completely flustered. I adjusted the diaper and taped it together in about two seconds. By this time another group of elderly women had made their way into the room and were making various comments and expellatory noises. The woman in the stall was shouting out questions, like “How old is he?”
I headed for the door without even bothering to snap his onesie.
Back at the table, I told my wife that she was going to have diaper duty for the rest of the party. I could hardly chew my birthday cake. Being cranky makes me tense.
So if you’re a business owner, please, for the love of all that’s good, put a changing table in the men’s room. If you’re a patron, start a petition at your favorite establishments. Changing tables shouldn’t just be in the women’s room. And if they are, then evidently I will be too.