The Things We Do For Love

As a man of equality, there’s not much I wouldn’t, or haven’t done in the name of fatherhood. I know men who didn’t change a diaper until the child was almost a year old. I know other men, like my father, who feel the man’s place in the home is to keep things running smoothly, only stepping into the role of “caregiver” as a last resort, or when all hell has broken loose and a little law is in order. I, on the other hand, pride myself on being a near-equal to CareerMom in all areas of rearing children.

These thoughts were running through my head yesterday, as I stood in CVS talking to a female pharmacist, in front of a row of various “creams” for um…yeast infections for MLE’s diaper rash.

“Yes, this is a very good one here. It has applicators for girls, but since your baby is a boy, you can just take it right from the tube and rub it along the infected areas.”

My mind wandered, as any man’s would, and I couldn’t help but think to myself, “What would I have to do if we had a girl?”

The pharmacist droned on, “Now, are you using packaged wipes when you clean him? Because it’s best if you just use a squirt bottle and then pat him clean with a soft cloth.”

I heard myself mumble, “Well, he’s in daycare all day, so we can’t control what they do, and when he’s at home, we change him on a padded plastic thing, so I can’t really use a squirt bottle, but I do wipe him very gently and then pat him clean with a warm washcloth.” And then I had a “Scrubs” moment and in my head, a vignette played out, recalling how as I have his two ankles clasped in my hand and I lift his legs so that his booty is off the table, how he grins as I press the warm washcloth against his hiney. And I chuckled and immediately feared that the pharmacist would read my chuckle as embarrassment and even further patronize me.

It was clear that she thought this was my first go-round at this fathering thing, and being of Indian origin, I’m pretty sure she didn’t hold in too high esteem, the parenting skills of most men (I’m stereotyping here, I know), but rather than launching into my usual soapbox about how we men are perfectly capable, I just nodded along with her sage wisdom.

But in my head I was just thinking, “Look lady, just tell me which of these creams works best, Vagisil, or the store brand, and then let me get out of here through the checkout with the shortest line so nobody sees me buying it!”

Alas, it was not to be. Luckily, the checkout person was an older man, who had probably seen it all and who gave my feminine purchase little more than a casual glance. And also luckily, there was no need for a public price check over the intercom.

Of butt-paste, yeast infections and other skin ailments

Parenting really is one big roller coaster isn’t it? The minute you get over one hill and you start coasting down it towards easier times, another whopping hill looms up before you forcing you to grab onto the handlebars and pray for all you’re worth.

Yesterday, as my sick wife languished at home in an attempt at sleeping off this nausea we’ve shared, daycare called and said our youngest was crying and generally unhappy. My wife, God bless her, went and brought him home. Other than not having slept since 7 a.m. (by then it was 11:30) he seemed fine.

However, last night as I tried to bathe him, he kept rolling up on one soft little butt cheek and a closer examination revealed some terrible chafing, which my wife had already been treating with some Butt Paste (Boudreaux’s brand I think). It was so painful for him, he couldn’t even sit, which might explain his crying so much at daycare.

Like any good parent, I immediately started running through my head what had changed that could have caused it and I came up with the following possibilities:

  • his antibiotic-induced diarrhea (love that word!)
  • new diapers

It occurred to me that we had just recently (as in the last two days) switched to Huggies from Pampers because the Pampers weren’t getting the job done at night. Our older son used Huggies with no problems, but it’s possible our youngest is allergic to them. So, we found an old pack of leftover Pampers and are trying them.

In the meantime, my MIL called and suggested it might be a Yeast Infection since he’s been on antiobiotics and his body can’t fight it off right now. So, there’s another suspect, which prompted an immediate late-night trip to the drug store for some Monistat or something (I offered to go, figuring it’d be less embarrassing for a guy to be buying it, but my wife insisted that she’d go).

His bottom didn’t seem as irritated this morning, so who knows. We’ll keep up this new diaper, anti-yeast infection/butt paste regimine for a few days and see if it works.