Pampered Lifestyle

The experts agree that mothers do not have a biological, psychological or natural advantage that automatically makes them better kiddie-caretakers than fathers. Obviously, the experts have never watched a guy change a diaper.

There are many areas in which men excel. They grow superior mustaches. They can wear boxer shorts without looking ridiculous. (Silly, perhaps, but not ridiculous.) And male is almost always the gender of choice when you need help push-starting a pickup truck. But none of these talents are as awe-inspiring as the average mother's ability to freshen up her baby as she flags down a bus. While running. And putting the finishing touches on her tax return.

Men will never master this task. But with assistance from a seasoned dad like myself, they can get through it without looking like helpless boobs. With that goal in mind, I now present the simple, step-by-step guide, "How to Change a Diaper in Less Than Three Hours and Fifteen Minutes."

1) Determine if the child needs his diaper changed. If you're lucky, there will be visible signs of leakage. If you're unlucky, those signs will be on your trousers and shirt. But at least you'll know what has to be done.

When the need for clean drawers does not announce itself, many mothers size up the situation by poking an index finger down the back of the diaper and feeling around. This, to me, seems a rather extreme method when a simple x-ray could supply you with an answer that's just as accurate and many times more sanitary.

If you've yet to work an x-ray machine into your nursery decor, you still don't have to resort to investigation by index finger. You can simply pinch the back of the diaper, pull it away from the child and make a visual check. If you can't bring yourself to look (no man on the planet would blame you), then inhale. Your olfactory equipment will tell you everything you need to know--although you may suddenly understand why the index-finger method is so popular.

2) With breath held and eyes closed to avoid any further sensory contact with whatever's in there, peel off the diaper tape. (You are using disposable diapers, aren't you? If not, give up. You're a madman, and well beyond any help I could give you.) As you prop the baby's legs upward with one hand, reach for the premoistened baby wipes and remove one from the handy dispenser top. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Dum dee dee dum dum dum, dee dee dum dum dee . . . All right. I've had my little joke. As you now know, it is impossible to remove baby wipes from that handy dispenser top with only one hand. So forget about them. Mop up what you can with the least soggy parts of the diaper. Then roll it into a tidy little ball. (Important note: DON'T SQUEEZE IT!)

3) At this point, mothers usually apply lotion, cream or powder to the baby. But as far as I'm concerned, there's a far more important job at hand: getting rid of the used diaper. Sometimes you can merely toss it into the nearest wastebasket. But sometimes you must encase it in lead, drive to a remote, of no less than fifteen feet.

4) When disposal is complete, open your eyes and resume breathing.
5) Should you suddenly realize you're out of fresh diapers, don't panic. You may be mistaken. If it turns out you're not mistaken, panic. Otherwise, slide the new diaper under the baby, tape-end up. With one hand, pull the bottom half of the diaper up between the baby's legs and hold it against his stomach. With the other hand, locate the left-side tape pull-tab. And with your other hand, grope for the right-side tape pull-tab.

6) If you happen to have any leftover hands (frankly, I've lost count), wrap the upper left-rear corner of the diaper around the baby's waist while keeping a firm (but not yet tab-pulling) grip on the pull-tab. When it's in place, pull the tab and use some idle limb or bodily protrusion to press the untabbed tape onto the diaper's upper left-front corner.

7) As you continue to apply pressure to the tape so it won't pop open and refuse to stick to anything ever again, move to the right side and repeat step six and the first half of step seven. If all your body parts are busy, don't move. Yell for help.

8) If all went well, voila! You now have a freshly diapered baby--and you've proven that you're not a total washout as a househusband after all. Enjoy the sensation, because it won't last long. In fact, if your child didn't void himself while you were doing him this incredible favor, he is surely doing it now.

9) Cancel any plans you might have had for the rest of the day, hold your breath, close your eyes and repeat steps one through eight until the cows, or some women, come home.

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Michael Burkett