Grandparents duke it out in duel of dirty diapers

Grandparents duke it out in duel of dirty diapers

A few years ago, when we learned we were about to become grandparents, seasoned practitioners of the art were eager to share philosophical thoughts on the matter.

“One of the best things about being a grandparent is that you can spoil them all you want and never have to face the consequences,” one sage said.

“That’s right,” chimed in another. “I can pump my grandson full of cotton candy and soda pop to his heart’s content and then just send him home to his parents. If he’s up all night doing cartwheels off the ceiling, I won’t lose a wink of sleep.”

Yet another summed it up like this: “It’s all of the fun of regular parenting with none of the actual work.”

Now in the thick of things with a pair of grandsons, I can say all of our advisors were correct, except for one little omission — diapers. There is no escape from changing diapers.

Sure, you can play the game where you hug and cuddle and rock and bounce your little slugger right up to the moment you feel the thundering rumbling and then innocently hand him off to his mamma with a courteous and quietly spoken, “I think he might have ... you know.” Or you can just as easily hand him off claiming you had no idea he’d made a mess — even though the sag in his Pampers suggests he’s just reduced his body weight by several percentage points.

Both are effective strategies when Mommy and Daddy are about, but when baby’s folks are out for the evening and there’s no one else to answer the call, you suddenly realize all of those wise individuals who were giving you advice where talking about their school-aged grandchildren. All of the fun and none of the work, indeed!

Don’t get me wrong. I am not averse to the duty at hand. Heaven knows having raised three kids I can huck Huggies with the best of them. But the fact I am fully capable of expertly changing a diaper doesn’t mean I’m eager for opportunities to ply the craft. If I never changed another dirty diaper in my life, I could still somehow die a happy man.

Just the other evening, Kristin and I found ourselves in a head-to-head battle as we faced our first evening alone with both of our grandsons: 2-year-old James and Max at just 5 weeks. Call it a game of bingo with two players and two callers: Someone was going to hit it big; it was only a matter of time.

I bet on the baby, noting his tendency to turn red and wrinkle his brow while doing his business. When he struck a pose like his mother doing math as a teenager, it was time to hand him off to Grandma.

Kristin went with the toddler. Although considerably more stealthy while committing the act, you could smell him coming a mile away once the deed had been done. All she’d have to do was have him call, “Pa-pa?” in his adorable, inexplicably French accent, and I’d come running like a lamb to the slaughter.

Each had a great plan. Neither was able to claim victory. The bombs dropped almost simultaneously, and for a few tense moments, our living room “changing area” looked and smelled like a rodeo parking lot after a pop-up thunderstorm.

The boys fared well and were right back to their cooing and giggling selves once the struggle ended.

“All of the fun with none of the work.” We’ll get there in a couple of years.

Kristin and John Lorson would love to hear from you. Write Drawing Laughter, P.O. Box 170, Fredericksburg, OH 44627, or email John at

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