Jan 13, 2021–Anyone who spends time with toddlers is reminded of the innocence of childhood, the eternal optimism of the human race, and why everyone eventually stops procreating.

Here is the timeline of a recent episode of Papa Babysits:

2:00 p.m.–After a full morning playing, drawing, reading, and running outside, I sit 2-year-old curly-haired grandson in front of sing-along music video for quiet time.

2:01–Step into next room to tune my violin so I could play along. This will be an abiding memory for him someday, I think smugly.

2:03–Returned to room. Grandson gone.

2:05–Find him in laundry room. Standing in pile of cleaning powder he emptied and spread thoughtfully around the room and on himself.

2:07–Stripped him of clothes and diaper, and carried him to outdoor shower.

2:17–Finished hosing him down, wrapped him in towel and carried him back in the house. Started sweeping the powder out of the laundry room.

2:25–Naked grandson appears in doorway, and announces “poo poo,” proudly bearing evidence on each of his extremities.

2:26–Second shower.

2:35–This time, made sure I put diaper on him immediately. Released him back into the wild.

2:40–Removed forensic evidence from carpet and started wet mopping every room in house and laundry room. Plus some walls.

3:00–Finished mopping. Threw in washer load of soiled towels and clothing. Set on heavy duty.

3:05–Grandson slipped on freshly-mopped floor and started crying.

3:10–Crying stopped.

3:30–Laundry finished. As I unloaded, realized one of the towels had been wrapped around a dirty diaper.


3:45–Finished scraping the super-absorbent, super-expanding diaper beads from sides and bottom of washtub. Did you know sodium polyacrylate can hold 300 times its weight in water?

3:46–Put laundry back in for extra rinse-spin cycle, heavy duty.

3:55–Caught washing machine walking across floor. Unbalanced load. Redistributed wet towels and restarted. Cursed again just for symmetry.

4:10–Started hanging now clean towels on clothesline.

4:15–Pinned up last towel.

4:15:03–Clothesline breaks, neatly pulling twice-rinsed, bleached, hospital clean white laundry across dirt, sticks, and stickers.

4:16–Observed moment of silence.

4:20–Wife in car on phone to daughter: “I don’t know what happened. I just got home to find your son playing in the dirt in the driveway and your dad screaming something over and over from the back yard.”

To be clear, I was screaming at myself. The blame for every detail in this saga lies directly at my feet.

Kids learn. Grownups don’t.

That’s why we keep having them.