Last Sunday, my son officially turned 18 months old and while we were out enjoying the day, he needed an unexpected diaper change.


I’ve changed more diapers than I can count in the last year and a half, and there have been several times those have taken place in interesting places. The best place to change the boy is at home, where there’s a changing pad with wipes and extra diapers at the ready, but babies don’t really get that, so we have had to make do many times while out in the world.


Department stores are usually the best place for an unexpected diaper change because they often have changing tables in their restrooms. Sometimes there’s even a family restroom, which allows me to lock the door and not have anyone walk in on us while the boy is bare-bottomed.


Of course, when there isn’t a family restroom, I just go about my business and don’t worry too much about anyone seeing the baby getting changed. Most of the time, no one gives us a second look and whenever anyone has said anything, it has been from a dad who said he’s been there.


The first time I got one of those comments was actually when I changing my son in a restroom in a large truck stop. The restroom had a changing table but they had installed it right by the door, so whenever anyone opened the door, my son’s diaper was the first thing they’d see. I guess I could have turned him around, but that was a situation where I was just trying to get him down on the table and changed before the mess got too great.


And the truck stop wasn’t too busy, so I only had a couple of people walk in while the diaper was being changed.


Generally, I’ve found the worst place for the boy to need a diaper change is at a restaurant. Inevitably it is desperately needed right before my wife’s and my food arrives, so I’m not there to receive the food at its peak hotness. And most restaurant bathrooms are usually cramped with no counter room or designated changing area.


I’ve gotten to the point where I stopped even checking restaurant restrooms and just go out and change him in my car. Luckily, I keep the storage area in the back of my crossover SUV clean, so I usually have room to work while he’s on his back.


The only problem is I’m so tall, I usually have to stoop down the whole time, which means by the time I’ve got his new diaper on him, my back is killing me. And that’s usually when the boy wants to get up and start getting into things. Luckily those things rarely include his dirty diaper.


Though when I changed him last Sunday, he got into something almost as bad.


We were in a department store that had a changing table in its restroom, so once I had him all changed, I put him on the ground and went to wash my hands. At first, he followed me and then went to look in the trash. I managed to keep him away from that, but then he went over to inspect a urinal and I think I was able to grab him before he stuck his hand inside it.


But I couldn’t be sure, so my handwashing turned into me washing his hands and then mine again.


Of course, as difficult and painful as changing him can be, I’m sure it’ll be the thing that really drives home how much he’s grown when he no longer needs it.


William C. Wadsack is the managing editor of the Herald Democrat and a first-time father. He never realized just how expensive children could be until the birth of his son. Email him at wwadsack@heralddemocrat.com. Follow him on Twitter @WCWadsackHD.