When the diaper is full and the seams are giving way, it’s a crucial time for quick decisions and swift action. If you missed yesterday, please stop by HERE to learn about the journey you’re joining in this blog post. If you’re too lazy to read yesterday’s post before continuing (sounds like something I might do), I shared the lovely story of a father’s search for a changing table. The end result? Sweet little Eliza’s bum, smothered against a dining table in open public. Was there a changing table in the women’s restroom? Naturally, but this daddy didn’t quite have the nerve to go charging in.
AND YET. A few weeks ago, I did just that in a similar scenario. I won’t disgust you with the details of my daughter’s diaper situation—I feel like I talk about poop on this blog with alarming frequency—but I will confess that I’m an “all options on the table” type of problem solver and parent. With my wife breast-feeding our new addition, there’s no way around me changing the bulk of the toddler’s diapers. We’ve become quite the adventurous pair: she does the pooping and I do the changing as we find new and wondrous new locales to go through our routine. Anyways, as I mentioned, my sweet little girl and I ventured into the women’s restroom a few weeks ago. I don’t know what changing stations are like across the US and abroad, but ours typically have a little Koala sticker.
Well, I saw the Koala sticker on the women’s restroom door but not on the men’s. KNOCK KNOCK! Daddy, daughter, and diaper are coming through gals! To be fair, this wasn’t quite the bold escapade I make it out to be; the restroom was at a smaller establishment where it was a single room with a deadbolt lock—only one person at a time. Eliza and I quickly ran into the women’s bathroom, locked the door, dropped down the changing table, and went to work. It was an uneventful (the most desirable word possible when describing a diaper change) swap and we quickly packed up to leave. We unlocked the door…and there was a line. Of women. One looked confused as I walked out with Eliza. The other looked angry and judgmental. Whatever. But tack on “Women’s Restroom” to Eliza and I’s diaper changing bucket list. The way potty training is going, I think we’ve got several more decades before our diaper partnership concludes. Which is good, because #71 on the list is the moon. That may take some time. Apologies, I digress frequently.
Look, a changing table isn’t a perfectly comfortable place to change your kid’s diaper. You have to ignore the slime growing on the walls, the odd assortment of stranger reactions passing by, and the penetrating thought of how many feces-covered bottoms have been in that position. We carry around some throw-down covers, but that does nothing to distract the imagination from running wild. Regardless of the presumed hygienic pitfalls, the changing table does prove to be a life saver in certain situations. With the baby, I can always fall back on a quick change right in my lap. With a 35 pound flailing monkey of a toddler, that lap trick doesn’t work nearly as well. We can try the standing up change, as I did last Saturday at a wedding, but that rarely results in a tidy diaper swap. The changing table is definitely the best option at times.
So why is it that so many places still don’t have changing tables in the men’s restroom? It frustrates me to no end when I have Eliza by myself or even when my wife is present but I’m tasked with diaper duty. It’s bizarre how many restaurants, grocery stores, and retail places only have changing stations in the women’s restroom. I don’t know if this is outdated buildings or what, but how hard is it to attach a drop down changing table? I just checked on Amazon and we’re talking about $150.00 and 5 minutes of time to install.
I’m not writing this as a feminist (but with a wife and two daughters, is that in my future?) or trying to chant sexism from the rafters, but it’d be nice if more places started recognizing the father’s role in modern parenting. I tried saying this was a sign I shouldn’t be changing diapers anymore, but my wife didn’t buy it. Thus, I’m stuck complaining to managers and passive aggressively handing out negative Yelp stars. If more places don’t start installing baby changers in the male restroom, they’re going to be seeing a whole lot more of my toddler’s chunk-buns. I have no problem whipping out a steaming diaper on a Hosts Table in a restaurant, a public bench by the front door of a travel station, or even a carpeted floor in a nice retail shop. And, as I shared above, I’m sorry ladies but I’m coming in if I know you’re hoarding the changing station. Time, tide, and toddler poop waits for no man; that diaper is coming off, it’s up to the business on where it goes.