The way you hold your favorite stuffed toy close to your chest, the way you smile when daddy pats your diapered bum, the blush of pleasure you get as you sit in your high chair and the bib is tied around your neck, and the way you hide underneath the blanket fort in the living room with one foot sticking out – these things don’t just make me smile, they remind me of how special you are, and what a gift you bring to the world.
As a daddy, I don’t see an adult who acts like a baby or toddler or little boy. I don’t see a role that is turned on or off. I see someone with a magical gift for finding those places inside where we find healing and joy and play.
Maybe he has a job, or school, and goes out to restaurants with friends. Sometimes daddy is with him and sometimes not. He’s usually padded – a Goodnite, a diaper, or training pants.
But it’s not just the diaper that connects him to his dad. There’s something incredibly powerful and special about being in his diapers, and it is an explicit and needed connection in his relationship to daddy.
As he sits there and feels the spreading warmth as he wets his diapers he has a special feeling of connection to both himself and the knowledge that his daddy is the one to change him.
But daddy doesn’t just feel connected because he has been given the gift of being able to care for such a special boy, plus the gift of a specific way to do that through keeping his boy diapered and secure.
He feels connected because as he looks across the table he can always sense the characteristics of his inner joy, mischief, play, need, and vulnerability.
Daddy can sometimes see in his little guy’s face those tender pains deep inside, the pains that feel a lot like a need to be hugged, and loved unconditionally, and cared for without a need for explanation.
Daddy can sometimes see in his little guy’s face those flashes of joy and love that don’t quite have words or names – they’re these feelings inside that well up and float and fill his little guy with this energy that adults rarely find, because adults don’t always let themselves be, simply, within a feeling, they try to name them and channel them and call them different things.
And so as daddy watches his boy who looks, to all the world, like a happy, regular person he sees something else: a little boy who, that night, will be taken by the hand and led into the nursery, whose diaper will be changed and who will be lovingly dressed, and who will be told not through words but through gestures and touch that his acceptance of who he is deep inside, his ability to let his expression of that self be held in his daddy’s gentle care, is affirming and bright and makes the world a better place.