Here at the Fat Beggars Home for Widows, Orphans, and Sojourners, our recent foray into baby diaper territory has me on a new learning curve. And as a man, changing diapers, feeding babies, and all the routine clean up , I clearly see differences in my wife’s approach and mine. I remember years ago listening to Dr. Laura on the radio when she summed up men in a single word: Conquest. She summed up women too, but I forget the word she used for them – which is fitting! I think.
Anyway, I am clear that for me, these jobs represent a daily problem to be conquered, unlike my wife who wants to enjoy the experience. Problem is… she needs my help, AND she is not always here when I give it.
(Caution is in order here: I am in no way suggesting you thwart MOM’s agenda. But when and where you can modify it, conquer those messes! Also, I am learning this stuff too. I am no authority on these things, but I am learning and so here are a few tips I have to pass on.)
I feed 3 babies every day. They are old enough to chew, but still supplement with a bottle/sippy cup. But being this is foster care, I really must limit my description of the children. But you can imagine me feeding three babies from start to finish. The dining area needs a hazmat crew when we are done!
Tip #1 Booty Checks
Change diapers before sitting babies down to eat. They can play and won’t realize you are preparing them for lunch, but if you seat them all and then have to return one for a diaper, the others will holler while waiting for you to come back. The cacophony of crying babies will drive you nuts, so prepare ahead of time. Then about half an hour after meals, check those diapers again. You gotta stay on top of those diaper rashes!
Tip #2 Food Ready
This goes for food prep too. Have everything ready once you seat the kids. The less waiting they do in those highchairs the better!
Tip #3 Never Trust a Bib
Mess control! At breakfast time, feed the kids in their pajamas and change them into clothes after. This way their clothes look good afterward, otherwise you will have to change them twice. But do not discard the pj’s. Use the “onesies” for sleeping at night, and save the messy pj’s after breakfast for use again at lunch. Unless they become overly soiled in breakfast, you can slip the child back into the pj’s over the day clothes like mechanic coveralls for lunchtime too. This will mean you should only need to wash face and hands, strip the child of the outer garment (the pj’s), and you are good to go on with life! At suppertime, just plan on moving to bath time afterward, and let them soil the day clothes. They are almost finished with them anyway, and you can go back to a fresh set of pj’s.
Tip #4 Get the Right Chair
Way before you get to the mealtime, you will need to obtain highchairs. When shopping for highchairs, notice they all come with fabric covers and seatbelts. Definitely choose one with a vinyl seatbelt that can easily wipe down with a wet cloth. If possible, get one with buckles that do NOT have lots of grooves, nicks, and crannies where food can stick! This is very difficult to clean. (In fact, I have not seen one with buckles in the back, but if you can find one, that would be best! – perhaps someone can design it and make a mint!) But the other main thing to watch for is a seat that has smooth plastic shell under the fabric cover. Go ahead and remove the cover in the store. Toss it, and never use it again. If the seat is a seamless bucket, you can swish it out with water or wipe it down easily with a wet cloth. Cleaning the fabric part every time is a nightmare!
Tip #5 Trade Your Six Gun for a Dirt Devil
Get a small canister vacuum cleaner that you can wash out easily. Suck up those bits of food as they fall to the floor. Then wash out the canister every day or two so the food bits don’t rot inside it. DO NOT VACUUM THE CHILD! But everything else is fair game. The child’s skin is too delicate for it, and their hair might become stuck and either way could cause injury. I know the temptation, but it’s not worth it. You gotta keep Mom as an ally and not an enemy. If you harm your child, your wife will get rid of you, and your kid will wind up in foster care. Don’t let that happen. Don’t be the idiot.
These are just a few tips I have developed over the last year of caring for babies here at the Fat Beggars Home for Widows, Orphans, and Sojourners. I am no expert, and would love for readers here to leave their advice for me and fellow readers. Valuable information can be hard to come by sometimes, yet so desperately needed.