You’re put into a clean diaper for the night. Maybe you were dressed in a sleeper or your Spongebob PJs. You have your paci in your mouth and your teddy bear in your arms.
Daddy tucks you into your crib or racing car bed and gives you a kiss on the cheek.
The night light is on, and daddy quietly leaves the room as your eyes flutter shut and you drift into a warm, gentle sleep.
But as daddy leaves your room, you haven’t left his thoughts.
The Quiet Moment
There’s a moment at the end of a day taking care of an adult baby when a dad finds a quiet space. Leaving a boy’s room, the peaceful look on his face, the way he sucks on his paci, or the crinkle of his diapers as he turns to cuddle his teddy more closely are like echoes that I carry with me in the hours that follow.
But more than the images of someone who is the perfect picture of an adult baby – more than the sleeper or the bottle feeding or the time spent playing with Lego’s or watching cartoons is the feeling of a gift, a bond, and a perfect circle of caring and being cared for.
When I started this blog, I did so because I didn’t find much online which referenced the dad’s perspective of caring for an adult baby or toddler. But I can’t be alone in knowing the joy of being given the incredible gift of being able to care for someone.
Those are the feelings at the end of a day – a sense of peace and wonder; amazement that through the simple gestures of changing someone’s diapers, playing, listening, and simply caring for someone that they would give so much back.
When the day ends, I find myself very quietly appreciating how much MORE there is in being a daddy than the simple actions which help someone find their little voice inside, because the communication is two-ways.
There’s the way a boy blushes, maybe, when you check his diaper; the way he cuddles next to you after being changed as if wanting the warm feelings of being diapered to extend and be held and be protected; or the way he gets excited talking and how it means so much to be able to listen.
But daddy is also thinking something else. Because after that quiet moment there’s also the realization that the bond between a ‘dad’ and a ‘son’ grows, evolves, and deepens over time.
From one day to the next there can be growing comfort and trust. There can be a deepening sense of care. And there can be emotions and feelings that are hard to put into words but that spread and grow and become richer.
I might remember how he lifted his arms so that I could slip his shirt on, and how for the first time there was something in his body language which started to feel like this was the natural way – a dad dressing his son, as if the idea that he’d dress himself was making less and less sense.
I might remember the times when he was quiet, and there was something in his eyes which spoke of feelings alone, there wasn’t language for it, and when I was changing him he slipped his thumb in his mouth which spoke more words than he’d be able to find.
And all of those little moments would be like beautiful snapshots, but they’d also leave me thinking of how I could help him be himself and in so doing how I might be a better dad to a little guy.
The acts of caring for a boy and him letting his daddy give that care are brought full circle at the end of a day.
Because a boy, asleep, speaks to the powerful union of love and dreams.