I am walking into dangerous and controversial territory when I ask the question: is there such thing as a diaper which is “too wet”? Because while both daddys and adult babies might agree that if there are puddles forming under the ground of your little guy then yes, he’s probably too wet and needs a change – but other than that there seems to be a dividing line somewhere that a daddy will not pass.
For the adult baby, the feeling of a wet and squishy diaper seems to elicit a special feeling: that only a baby boy would be sitting in such a wet diaper, and that he must need a daddy if he can be so soaked.
You might slip behind him as he plays with his Legos and check his diaper and find your little guy is soggy right through to the bum. Saying to him: “You’re soaked, we should get you changed” will only elicit an innocent little stare and a slight shaking of the head.
For the daddy to an adult baby this can be a confusing moment: but the fact that he doesn’t seem to want to be changed isn’t a sign that he doesn’t need his daddy, it’s a sign instead that sometimes a wet diaper can give him as much of a sense of security as a dry one.
The Comfort of a Squishy Diaper
I have to admit that as a daddy I don’t always understand the feelings that a little guy has about his diapers or the role of his daddy in his life.
I could never entirely understand why a little guy would prefer to continue playing with his toys in a wet diaper rather than have the nice dry padding of a crinkly clean one.
But it occurred to me that one reason has to do with diaper technology itself: with today’s disposable diapers able to absorb plenty of liquid, your little guy might not even be aware that he is wet.
Over time, using his diaper has become second nature and he might sort of sub-consciously sense himself wetting but will often lose awareness and will come to rely on his daddy to check and change him.
A soaked diaper gives him feedback which today’s diapers don’t give when merely ‘wet’, especially for an adult baby who uses his diapers without thinking.
The heaviness of the diaper, a slight sense of moisture, and the way it feels a little warm when it reaches a saturation point is actually reinforcing to him that he needs his diapers, and this feeling can be reassuring and calming.
Change Time for the Soaked Little Boy
A daddy knows best. You will learn your little guy’s rhythms. You will know that a diaper change before a nap, for example, is probably a good idea: he always seems to wet a lot when he sleeps.
You will know when bath time is and might elect not to change him just yet, knowing he’ll be squeaky clean soon enough and ready for a thick night diaper.
And sometimes, knowing his rhythms means knowing when to let him stay in his soaked diaper for a while, realizing that the feeling of being wet is actually reassuring him that it’s OK: it’s OK to be in a diaper, it’s OK to use it, and it’s OK to be soaked – he’s a little boy and that’s what happens to little boys!
Somewhere between the positive reinforcement of a soaked diaper and the discomfort he might feel if left too long is the time when daddy can lead him to the change table and get him into a clean diaper.
As you pat him on his bum, the reassuring thump on his cleanly diapered rear will be another little signal that daddy knows he will soak sometimes, and that he will take care of his little guy.
Learning his rhythms and understanding that what might not at first make sense to daddy is usually just another sign that he feels safe, that he wants the positive reinforcement that it’s OK to be in your care, and that wet or dry he’s still a little guy who will probably never be out of diapers or his daddy’s care.