If you had a weekend with daddy what would it be like? If you had to capture the experience you were looking for how would you describe it?
I was thinking about this when I ran across a Web site for a nursery – a place where little guys or girls can go to be taken care of for an hour, a day or a weekend. Now, I know nothing about the place other than what I read on the Web site so this isn’t an endorsement or anything.
Their concept includes providing different ‘programs’ depending on someone’s needs and interests. For example, their “cutey” program is described like this:
This program is based on the Toddler stage. Activities are more versatile, as kids start becoming independent.
The equipment is adapted to adult-sized toddlers. Potty-training is a strong priority of this program. Food gets varied, as kids start discovering new sensations through touch, hearing, smell, sight and taste.
Tenderness and care are required to facilitate this growing period
Each of the programs includes a brief list of clothing, games and food and has an attached schedule depending on whether you were staying for an hour, a day or a weekend.
I found the list of programs somewhat inspiring. Different boys are often in different states of mind: some little guys have more ‘toddler-type’ feelings, or maybe they need more babying over a weekend.
So I thought maybe I’d think about my own feelings or approaches about the different programs they outline, starting with the first: the “Huggy Program” which is described like this:
This program is based on the “baby” stage. Softness, tenderness and care are at the very heart of this program .
The environment is fully adapted to adult-sized babies. Food, clothing and activities are designed for this specific age. This program will bring back your most marvellous memories
The Start of Daddy’s Version of a “Huggy Weekend”
Entering daddy’s care you’re returning to a space of tenderness, care and the trusting love that comes from being in that wonderful needing and helpless place of your babyhood.
For some little boys, this is a natural state to return to. For others, being present in their inner babyhood takes some time, but daddy is there to gently bring you back to your warm, vulnerable and cared for self.
When you arrive, daddy immediately takes you to the nursery where you sit in a large over-stuffed double chair. He chooses a plushy for you from the shelf, watching your eyes to see if you respond to a particular one – the soft teddy bear maybe, the puppy, or the bunny rabbit.
He hands you your new favorite friend and then sits beside you and talks softly. He tells you that what he sees is a beautiful baby boy. He tells you that baby boys need lots of care and attention. He reminds you that baby boys need diapers, feeding, and plenty of rest and quiet play time.
He tells you that daddy will be there to take care of everything and that you should remember that daddy is only there for your care and that it is safe to let your worries and thoughts and concerns float away – daddy is there to look after you and his priority is to provide trust and care like a warm blanky.
He makes sure that you don’t have questions or concerns, and notices that you are shyly but surely entering a quieter place.
Daddy sits you on the change table. His voice is a soothing murmur. He uses short sentences.
He removes your adult shirt and then gently lies you down on the change table. You notice a soothing tinkle sound of music from the nursery music box. You feel a little awkward as daddy removes your jeans and underwear, but he gently shushes, calmly soothes, and as you hug your plushy you feel a pacifier brought to your mouth and you shyly take it.
You smell the fresh scent of baby powder and feel its cooling sprinkle on your skin. He doesn’t just powder your diaper area but your arms and chest and legs a little as well. You feel wrapped in babyish smells.
You notice the shelf near the change table with stacks of diapers and see daddy choose one that looks thick and has babyish prints. He seems to grab a stuffer as well, and when he lifts you and then lowers you the diaper crinkles beneath you and the thick padded feeling of the diaper is like a pillow.
Daddy rubs your tummy in little circles. You feel the tight anxiety inside start to melt a little, and you feel your muscles relax even more as the diaper wraps itself around you. The sound of the tapes being opened and then the feeling of them being snugly secured makes your legs curl in slightly and then out.
You feel a little as if your body is responding on its own, floating a little, involuntary curls and stretches.
You feel safer suddenly, more snug, there’s something transporting about the feeling of your diaper. And you think “my diaper, daddy has put me in my diaper” and you feel a butterfly in your tummy.
Clothes for Baby
Over the weekend, daddy will keep you dressed in snuggly, soft clothing. Onesies in slightly thicker, softer materials than an ‘average’ onesie. Cottony rompers.
You often find yourself wearing a play sleeper in the day – the feeling that even your feet are wrapped in soft fabrics and that everything feels ‘tucked in’ and snuggly reassures you. Daddy will often have you wear a cute little soft hat in a soft pastel color.
Daddy also has you wear clothes with attached mittens. They keep you warm but comfortable. With the mittens on, you find that you tend to grasp for larger, softer objects – stuffed toys or large plastic rings.
Your paci is attached to your clothing by a ribbon. Sometimes when you lose your paci you have trouble grasping it to put it back in your mouth, but daddy is usually nearby to place it back in your mouth for you.
Upon being diapered and dressed, daddy sits with you on the soft nursery floor rug.
The feeling of sitting with him gives you a little shy feeling. He plays with some of the baby toys on the floor – rings, animals and blocks. He uses words or short sentences.
But you find it hard to completely focus. You feel swaddled. The soft feeling of the clothes is so different from the street clothes you arrived in.
Your diaper seems to make very loud crinkling noises each time you move. You suck on your paci and find yourself focusing on it, then on the crinkly feeling of the diaper, and then on daddy.
You feel an emotional feeling inside but you’re not sure how to name it. Everything feels contained, as if you were inside the muffled feeling of a fleece blanket.
Daddy will sense these feelings in you – a sort of unnamed emotion, not quite able to bring ‘sharpness’ to your thoughts. He will give you a warm rub on your back, or very gently tussle your hair, or give your thick diapered bum a little pat.
Activity times will be fairly quiet. Explorations, simple, touching things, giggling a little at how daddy gives the animals their own voices.
Playpen time on your own brings out other feelings – you play in your playpen but you’re more aware of a feeling of being in your very own little space. There are the toys and the sounds and the spinning play things and the ones that make noises – but your senses are heightened and muffled all at once.
There is the swaddling feeling of the diapers and clothes, but also the crinkles of the playpen mat, and the sense that your playpen gives you a safe space.
After playing with you a bit, daddy brings you to the big chair and cradles you a little. He doesn’t say much, because he feels your body and senses waves of feelings. Maybe your ‘adult’ mind wants to say something and then it quiets down because you’re being cuddled and cradled and you feel snug in your diapers.
When he brings a baby bottle to your lips you have a flush feeling, but as you take the nipple to your lips you feel another transporting feeling. Everything becomes focused on the feeling of being cradled and fed, the warm milk, and you release yourself to your feelings as if something inside you is finding peace and safety.
Later, high chair time also makes you blush but then sort of float, as the feeling of a bib around your neck and daddy’s careful feeding makes you giggle, but also makes you feel helpless yet cared for.
Being diapered, clothed, fed, and quiet play time on the nursery rug or in your playpen – you feel yourself floating through the incredible space where you are completely cared for.
If you had asked the adult who arrived whether he would need naps, you probably would have said no or that you’d ‘fake it’. But the adult was left behind and now you find that there are lots of emotions inside you, the calm comfort of being cared for, the swaddling space in which daddy has put you.
So when daddy puts you down for naps, there’s something reassuring and safe. The crib sends a well of emotion through you.
You almost feel like crying but it’s also a happy feeling and also a babyish feeling and when daddy raises the bars of the crib you feel an affirmation, a bubble of joy, a cuddly feeling of safety, and you know that daddy is looking after you or will be watching on the baby monitor and the warm swaddle of your babyhood sends you to sleep whether for a nap or at night.
A Baby in the World
When you leave daddy’s care at the end of the weekend, he spends lots of time with you before you leave. You sit on the couch and have a long quiet chat. You feel tender and vulnerable and a little sad. You express your feelings and discoveries and express your fears and needs.
Daddy tells you how proud he is of you. And he tells you that even when you’re out in the world, you will always be a special little boy with a soft and gentle heart.
And even though you feel sad, your mind starts to turn a little as you try to think of the answer to daddy’s last question: “is there anything special you’d like to do next weekend?”