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Daddy diaper duty

My husband and I thought that 24 years of marriage and nearly just as many years of my home day care had prepared us for anything.

Our children were grown; our youngest daughter was 19.  Well, actually, our youngest daughter is now our oldest one. We recently adopted a baby girl.  Because we knew the birth mother, a friend of our daughter, we were there for the delivery and brought our newest daughter home directly from the hospital the following day.

You would think that the life experience my husband and I both possessed, as a result of raising two children, would give us the wisdom to handle any situation with grace and dignity.  Of course, myself, the mature wife and mother of this partnership can handle almost everything. My husband, on the other hand, did not quite have a grip on caring for our new baby daughter, and I learned certain things can unravel even a strong, well-trained military man after all.

He was taking care of the newest member of our family while I attended a writer’s group.  While, dropping me off at the library, where I meet with other aspiring writers, he saw a presentation on investments going on and decided to listen in.  Shortly thereafter, he noticed a rather nasty odor emanating from the baby.  He took her out to our van knowing said odor meant daddy diaper duty time and not wanting to trust just any restroom’s cleanliness.

Our newfangled diaper bag is equipped with a vinyl changing pad.  He laid her on it and proceeded to change her.  Thinking he was doing just fine, as he unwrapped the diaper and used it to clean up some of the mess, he folded it together while attempting to grab a baby wipe from those dastardly parent- proof packages!  The only problem with this scenario was that Kimberlie was not finished using that diaper yet and promptly began doing so on the pad!  While my husband tried to gingerly clean this up, she decided to upchuck most of her bottle from the previous feeding, missing the pad.  We used to tease that she was an erupting volcano with as much as she could spit up.  And as if this was not enough, and Daddy was not already near panic, she then emptied her bladder all over both previous messes.  Imagine how 8 pounds of infant could completely unravel my big, tough military man and you have to see the irony and the humor.

All my husband could say when I joined him after the writer’s group ended was that she got him really good.  He did not want to tell me exactly how, until we were well out of earshot range.  I can’t imagine why he didn’t want to share this hysterical scene with the members in my writer’s class.  It would have made their day, as it was much funnier just seeing it in mind’s eye, knowing how most fathers handle diaper duty anyway.

It’s okay though, as he has forgiven Kimberlie.  Daddy has learned that even the advent of years does not prepare him to handle certain duties all at once.  We will continue growing older and wiser together, with a little one to keep us young, laughing and definitely on our toes.

Only a husband, who truly loves his wife, would consider renewed parenthood again at this stage of our lives.  I am also sure that for a brief moment during this episode he had his doubts about why he had considered it, but then one beautiful, heart-melting smile and coo from his new daughter told him why.

For some reason though, he now balks and attempts to always get out of diaper changing duty. Love you babe!

— Beckie Miller

Beckie Miller began writing after the death of her son who was robbed and murdered in 1991. She has served as chapter leader of Parents Of Murdered Children (POMC) in Phoenix for the past 20 years and has won numerous awards for her service to crime victims. Married to husband Don for 41 years, she has three children — “one who soars in heaven,” son Brian who died at age 18; a daughter Christie, 36; and a daughter Kimberlie, 16. “Writing not only saved my life through an emotional roller coaster of a grief like no other, but it gave me an avenue to sing my son’s silenced song,” she says.

Reflections of Erma