Now, I can’t help feeling that most little boys are probably better off in diapers.
If a daddy puts an adult baby in big boy underwear for a trip to the movies, he’ll find himself sitting in the theater beside a fidgety, squirmy ‘son’. Not the best way to enjoy a film!
It’s not that he’s being difficult, it’s just that without his diapers he’ll be feeling anxious and worried. You’ve given your little guy a sense of security by diapering him and now he’s reacting to that absence. Realize that this is a loving sign that he needs his daddy to care for him and keep him safe and secure.
But one of the joys of caring for adult babies is that the term “baby” can actually be very broad.
The baby in your house loves his bottle, pacifier, and being put to bed at night in a safe, warm crib. But the little boy in your house loves his race car bed, playing video games, and pretending he’s a ninja by sneaking in the shadows and then leaping out to attack your dog.
What’s even more amazing, is both of these little tykes can be expressions of identity by the same person.
There are no hard-and-fast categories for adult babies, diaper lovers or little boys. A long cuddly weekend with time in the playpen and being fed by daddy in his high chair might be followed by a week in which he’s running out the door in his Osh’Kosh overalls, spiderman back pack slung over his shoulder, and Pull-Ups providing day-time protection.
But regardless of whether you’ve adopted a little boy or are responding to different feelings that come out in your baby, there might come a time when you’re faced with a question: do you feel OK putting him in big boy undies?
Never Far from a Diaper
A dad can feel a sense that he’s not quite doing his job if his little guy isn’t wearing protection. The act of diapering creates both a bond between a dad and son and is an intimate act of providing security and demonstrating trust.
So when a little guy heads out the door to school with nothing but big boy undies under his jeans, a dad might feel worried or anxious himself.
One way to alleviate this feeling is to realize that while he might be out of diapers in the day, he’s almost certainly in diapers or protection at night.
In fact, most dads will insist on some kind of night-time protection. Getting your little guy in diapers an hour or so before bed time provides a consistent space in each day where a dad feels reassured, and a son feels the protection and care of his daddy.
Accidents will Happen
But the truth is that you probably don’t have to worry too much about day time either. Wearing his big boy undies with their cute superhero patterns may be a gesture of his independence (and, frankly, might also be the best way to deal with a school or work situation where diapers aren’t as much of an option), but they’ll also usually end up being a reminder of why he needs his dad in the first place.
Accidents will happen.
Because as much as your little guy might enjoy the sense of adventure or freedom of being a “big boy”, most of them will also both feel the tug back to the more protective care their dad can offer, or will just have one of those days when, lost in play, they ‘forget’ to go to the potty.
Dealing with a Return to Diapers
When your little guy arrives home from the playground sniffling or crying and you notice his wet pants, a daddy should be firm. I personally don’t believe this is a time for punishments, but is a time for calm and efficient action. His wet pants are, after all, a cry out for care.
What he’s saying to you is: “I thought I could be a big boy but sometimes I can’t, and I need you to take me by the hand and bring me back into that deeper care that only you can give.”
Dealing with a boy who has wet his big boy undies should be simple and not involve a lot of fuss.
Gently state what happened: “You had an accident, son and wet your pants.”
Help him to stay in touch with who he is. He wants to be reminded of his very special place in your life: “Little boys wet their pants sometimes, don’t they son?” When he nods, say “And you’re daddy’s little boy, aren’t you?”
Connect what has happened to the care you’re there to provide. He wants to know that he hasn’t lost your love or guidance. “Little boys who have accidents need to be put back in diapers so they feel safe and secure. Daddy will get you cleaned up and into a nice diaper so you don’t have to worry about another accident.”
If he mutters or complains, assure him that as soon as he can show daddy he doesn’t need his diapers in the day, he can go back to his big boy undies, but that for now you’ll both feel safer in diapers.
But regardless of whether your little guy is a big boy or a little one, it’s not whether he wears diapers or uses a bottle that creates the special bond between a dad and a son.
The rituals, guidance, safety, gestures and little turning points in your relationship are what crafts that special feeling between you, and which build a foundation that goes beyond him being a diaper boy to his daddy, into shared and unconditional love.