Is it best to keep an adult baby in diapers, or does the occasional attempt at potty training make sense? Are there times when caring for a boy feels more like having a little boy in the house, or will he always be your diapered toddler?
Sometimes life will have its own surprises. It has for me these past few months, and it reminds me of how it’s sometimes difficult to focus the attention you know you should or wish for, and that even though your little guy is everything in the world there are still times when other priorities compete.
But in some ways, these can be good ways to deepen the bond between a daddy and son, although the pain of separation can often damage the safe space you’ve created. If you’re lucky enough to have your little guy with you in your home things can be a lot easier than at a distance. You have a special bond and the trust that comes from seeing each other, and the ways in which you care for a little guy can shift slightly to reflect the broader things happening in your lives.
One of the joys of caring for an adult baby is that, of course, he’s an adult. He may have his own responsibilities, family concerns, or special things that need his attention. So you should be aware that he will need different kinds of care and attention at different times, but that none of this changes the fact that you’re his daddy.
One of the ways you can express your respect for who he is and the different things that happen in life is by giving him a chance to be a “big boy”. This doesn’t mean treating him as an adult, of course.
Night Time for Your Little Tyke
It’s bed time. And he knows the routine: a bath, brushing his teeth, and getting changed by daddy for bed.
Usually this means the change table and a nice thick diaper followed by a snuggly sleeper. But tonight daddy wraps you in a towel after your bath and leads you to your room. Instead of patting his hand on the change table, however, he tells you to sit on the bed.
When he returns from the diaper shelves, he has a Goodnite in his hands rather than the diaper you’re used to seeing. You gulp a little and feel a little worried, but there’s a funny feeling in your tummy – what does it mean that daddy is putting you in a ‘training pant’ for sleepy time instead of a diaper?
He helps you shimmy into the Goodnite. It isn’t as thick but there’s still a reassuring padding. After he slips you into a pair of cartoon pajamas, you feel more like a big toddler rather than a little one, and something inside you feels anxious that you disappointed daddy or that you might.
But he reassures you, rubbing your back gently as he sits beside you.
He tells you that life has been different lately, and busy, but that he’s proud of his little boy. He says that to show you how proud he is, he’s putting you in your Goodnites because he wants you to know how much daddy loves you and appreciates you and knows what a tough little soldier you’ve been through everything.
As he tucks you in, you feel uncertain. You feel proud of how you and daddy have a special bond with each other, but you wonder if things are changing somehow.
For the adult baby, a move from diapers to training pants or Goodnites is a paradox of sorts: it’s an expression of understanding between daddy and son that life changes and that you’re always there for each other, but it provides less feeling of security than his diapers.
But for the daddy to an adult baby or little boy this paradox is important: because if you’ve been caring for your little guy for a while, it’s almost certain that even if he tries, he won’t be able to stay dry for long.
As a boy gets used to being in diapers they become more natural. Some may even start wetting their diapers while they sleep, or not remember wetting before they drifted off to sleep.
When you put your boy in Goodnites, you’re sending a subtle signal that you are happy that he’s mature enough to understand the different pressures you’re facing in life, but when he wakes up with a wet one in the morning he’ll remember that he’s still a little boy, and still needs his daddy to keep him in protection.
In fact, the shift back to diapers after a period of potty training or training diapers can be an important bonding moment between you and your little boy. Because at the end of the day, no matter what happens, he’s still your baby, and when you tape him up in a diaper once again he’ll be reminded that he has a constant in his life which is your care and understanding.