I took my 2 year old daughter to her playschool a few weeks ago. In many ways it was a blast from the past as I had taken my now “big boy” 4 year old son to the very same location when he was two years of age. The owners/operators were still the familiar friendly duo of ladies singing tunes, creating crafts, doling out snacks, and finishing up with story time. Even the parents in attendance gave me a striking feeling of deja vu as the faces may have changed but the characters remained the same. Yet there was a distinct difference. I was not the rookie parent in the room anymore. At four and half years into parenthood, I felt the confidence and swagger of an experienced veteran Dad. “Step aside rookie parents, Big Poppa’s in the house!” Yet my glorious self-coronation as King of all Dads would need to wait. My daughter threw down the gauntlet by declaring in no uncertain terms, “Daddy, I have a squishy diaper!”
I did not panic. Well, not at the level of rookie parent anyway. I lifted my daughter up, elevating her body with my arms extended as to not saturate my own clothes (see, a rookie parent would have gotten soaked), grabbed her diaper bag and took her to the nearest restroom. To my dismay, the bathroom lacked a changing table. Yet it did have a sink with a large counter surface area. I opted for the standing diaper change. In a few swift moves I had a new diaper and clean pants placed on her. I could tell my daughter appreciated Daddy’s Diaper Fu skills by her pat of approval on my back.
We returned a few moments later into the mix of things with the other children. Within milliseconds I found myself mediating an epic dinosaur clash. My daughter along with another child became fixated on a particular T-Rex. Unfortunately only one of these charismatic carnivores held court in the entire play area. As the toddler titan tug-a-war ensued I knew I would need to step in since the other child’s parent (I’m guessing rookie) was missing in action. Like a slow motion scene from a Martin Scorsese film, I witnessed my daughter retract her right arm to set up this unsuspecting child for a devastating right hook. I leapt “Noooooooo!” and successfully blocked her fists of fury. In the corner of my eye I spotted an appealing Stegosaurus. Making use of finely honed negotiating skills (“Who want to play with this silly-saurus?”) a peace was brokered. There would be no more tears shed. A Daddy, Dinosaurs and Toddlers had found a way.
After a snack, bubble time concluded a legendary return to playschool. Yet this battle tested veteran Dad emerged unscathed. That is of course until my daughter announced to me in the car, “Daddy I got poo diaper.” The adventure continued…
What do you bring the table as an experienced parent? How do you react to other parents and children who are still learning the ropes of parenthood?