The Fatherhood Chronicles XII: Fathers, “Poopy Diapers Are Job One” and Other Recently Learned Tidbits

Anna and Sofie are sleeping just now. Whew. It’s been a rough first two nights at home. Well, not rough in terms of how Sofie’s doing, but rough in that we are now of the tribe of the sleep-deprived. Due to one of Anna’s medications, Sofie has been pretty gassy. Poor thing. So Daddy takes her and walks all up and down the apartment trying to get that air out of that little tummy. With numerous trial and error, I have discovered she prefers me balancing her with her chest on my hand, her butt about level with my sternum, and facing out. From “Wah” to “Coo” in five seconds. Who knew?

Sofie is her momma’s girl, that’s for sure. Day 3 of life (and first 24 hours out of the hospital), and Anna insisted we all go up to the Carter’s outlet for their summer tent sale. “Honey . . .” I began to object. But the womenfolk ganged up on me, so it was haul Graeco Metro stroller, Kelty Kids baby “backpack,” and Eric Carle “Very Hungry Caterpillar” diaper bag down to car, buckle in and head to Kenosha. Surprisingly, though, Sofie did quite well. We did have to stop at Gurnee for a feeding, but Sofie slept until after we returned home. Sofie: three-day old power shopper! (Egad.)

I have also discovered, and mind you this has been borne out by expert testimony, that fathers have a job, perhaps not the only job, but certainly the primary job. We do poopy diapers. We are fathers. This is what we do.

Sofie’s first poopy diaper was changed by yours truly. And a right black tarry mess it was. Who knew that much gunk could come out of such a little body? And who knew that getting said mess out of otherwise cute little baby creases was tantamount to removing barnacles from a ship? But this new father perservered, and a clean pink bottom, ready for the new diaper was the glorious result. Sofie’s next few poopy diapers were even more of this “baby asphalt.” I mean, I was forewarned about this, but whew! Where did she hide it all?

I have also discovered that a new personage has emerged from my inner self. Alongside the contemplative theologian, pugnacious philosopher, and all around Scotch-drinking, pipe-smoking good ol’ Kansas boy, has emerged Conan the Barbarian. Well, okay, or Thundarr or someone like that. I have reverted to primitive hunting man status. Grunt. These are my women. Grunt. Hurt them at your peril. Grimace. Glower. Grunt. I have to consciously resist the urge to stand outside our front door, broadsword in hand and challenge the UPS guy who dares to invade the sanctity of our home with something called a “parcel delivery.” Crom! Demon dogs!

Along with these twin discoveries is another: I am absolutely and intensely interested in every bodily function of our little girl. I discuss the color and consistency of her bowel movements. I count the number of belches and farts–yes, my daintly little girl farts (I’m sooo proud!)–forecasting and calculating as though I’m discovering the existence of a new galaxy. The relationship between divine knowing and human knowing in Aristotle is blase compared to wondering if Sofie is crying because she is: a) hungry, b) gassy, c) call the pediatrician.

I could go on. But, I’ll have to end here. Sofie is stirring, and I’m sure I’ve got a poopy diaper to take care of. And by golly, that better not be the UPS truck stopping in front of our apartment . . . Where’s my warhammer?