The following was produced in partnership with our friends at Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, a line of diaper rash products developed by a pharmacist and dad of 4 that will kick your kid’s diaper rash faster than you can read this sentence.
According to a recent survey, a whopping 47 percent of millennial parents claim their average diaper changing time is under one minute. If you’re in the other 53 percent (also known as “the honest ones”), you can take that time with a grain of salt — the same survey found 88 percent of parents think they change more diapers than their significant other, so someone’s lying. Still, it might get you wondering: “How can I speed up my diaper changing game?”
Here’s one way: Ask a NASCAR front tire changer, an actor who holds the Guinness World Record for most costume changes in a show, and head of operations for one of the busiest restaurants in New York City.
Under a minute seems crazy fast for a diaper change, but it’s disastrous for a NASCAR pit stop, where the best crews get in and out in 11 seconds or less. Thomas Hatcher, who changes front tires on Joey Logano’s pit crew, knows from disastrous changes — a fallen jack during the final stop of the 2014 season cost Logano a shot at the Sprint Cup Championship. That’s the NASCAR equivalent of your kid exploding their pants right after you gave them a nice bath.
When Hatcher and his wife had their first kid, she gave him a butt whooping in butt wiping until he started sweating the details as much as he does on pit road. “Prep work and attention to detail are a huge part of our fast changes. The more organization the better,” he says. “I took that and started looking at little things like how to hold the diaper on when I pull the straps. You can only hold your breath for so long.”
That’s the NASCAR equivalent of your kid exploding their pants right after you gave them a nice bath.
Michael Jibson couldn’t hold his breath for long, either; the actor’s West End debut in 2002’s Our House required 29 costume changes in roughly 2 hours. The first time he found himself covered in velcro, snaps, magnets, and even enormous clock springs, he didn’t know he was setting world records — he was just trying to figure out how to go from tracksuit to actual suit in 3 seconds.
“We had to pre-set all these costumes in order in these baskets in certain places backstage. Sometimes I’d walk off, stand there like Iron Man with 4 people putting on his suit, and walk back on. It was crazy.” Note: an armored suit is not necessarily required to change diapers, although it doesn’t hurt.
Know Your Customer
Then there’s David Berson, operations manager at Peter Luger, a New York City steakhouse institution with roughly 70 tables, half of which get seated every 15 minutes. Berson has table turnover down to such a science that servers can anticipate the timing of an entire 2-hour dinner. A minute before the steaks are ready, they’re waiting by the window. They arrive to clear plates moments after the last bite is eaten.
Berson says to study the signals (you know … “The Face”), anticipate your kid’s needs, streamline your process. Just don’t get jumpy and start changing when things are still percolating. That’s how you end up with an accidental new paint job in the nursery.
Speed is great, but it’s not worth a diaper load if you can’t repeat your process and get the job done right every time. “You end up messing up if you try to go too fast; we win with consistency,” Hatcher says. “Everybody can throw up a stupid fast time at the shop during practice, but you have to trust yourself and be confident enough to do it when the pressure is on on Sunday.” Or, you know, that time of day when your kid poops.
Like handling another human’s waste — after you’ve done it for a week, it’s just part of the deal.
Jibson agrees that consistency in practice leads to speedy execution at showtime. “We rehearsed it and never panicked. It was never, ‘Crap! We’ve got 5 seconds, quick, quick!’ Everybody just did it really calmly. By the time we were open for a week, we didn’t even think about it. It was just part of the show.” Like handling another human’s waste — after you’ve done it for a week, it’s just part of the deal.
“Rushing people isn’t who we are or what we do, but once they leave we do try to flip that table as quickly and efficiently as possible,” notes Berson. “We believe in doing things in the simplest yet best way possible, so it’s about being strong within your comfort zone, sticking to that groove, and fine-tuning it to the best of our ability.” You’re working in an entirely different kind of groove and a potentially very uncomfortable zone, but the lesson still applies.
Take One For The Team
Hatcher has 2 sons, ages 4 and 5, while Jibson has a 3-year-old daughter. Unlike the 67 percent of parents who believed they were “more likely” to change a dirty diaper than their significant other, both Hatcher and Jibson split changing duties with their wives, and the team emerged better for it.
To be fair to the parents in the survey, only 23 percent said they didn’t trust their significant other to change a diaper. Even if you’re slow, your partner apparently doesn’t think you’re terrible. Then again, when asked which new celebrity dad they’d most “want on diaper duty,” 34 percent of parents said Ryan Reynolds, so their judgment might be questionable — those people should really give this Jibson guy a look.
This post was produced in partnership with our friends at Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, a line of diaper rash products developed by a pharmacist and dad of 4 that will kick your kid’s diaper rash faster than you can read this sentence.
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