Being an uncle, both formally and informally, offers the best of both worlds when it comes to infant exposure: All the fun and cuteness with none of the diaper-changing and Pack N’ Play deployment.
If there's one aspect of early fatherhood I do not miss, it is the late-night set-up of the latter. Indeed, it seems like only yesterday that I placed this (entirely fictional) call to Graco's (entirely fictional) help line:
• Welcome to Pack N’ Play customer support! For help deploying your folding crib, press “1” or say “deploy.”
• For help extracting your Pack N’ Play from the overstuffed trunk of your car, press “2” or buy a minivan already.
• If your Pack N’ Play is sitting in a twisted heap in the middle of your in-laws’ spare bedroom, press “3” or swear loudly.
(Sound of “1” being pressed)
• Crib deployment. Before you begin, remove any sharp or dangerous objects — or heckling in-laws — from the room. Also, good luck deploying your Pack N’ Play while holding a phone.
• Remove the Pack N’ Play’s nylon cover (assuming you haven’t lost it) and stand the crib on one end. Then remove the mattress pad by releasing the Velcro tabs. If you’re having trouble this early on, you should probably give up and put junior to bed in the bathtub.
• Next, splay the four legs. Even though it’s jutting up into your face, resist the temptation to push down on the centre of the crib. If you do, you’re screwed.
• Snap the four side bars into place by alternately twisting, pulling, shaking and bashing the central button thingy. Then push down on the (badly damaged) central button thingy until the crib is fully unfolded.
• Put the mattress pad in the bottom of the crib with the “soft” side facing up, and place the fitted sheet over the mattress pad. What fitted sheet, you ask? Don’t worry, the bare pad isn’t nearly as uncomfortable as it looks. To continue, press “pound.”
(Sound of “pound” being pressed)
Congratulations on deploying your Pack N’ Play! Don’t forget to put a child in there at some point.
If, however, you have become trapped inside the Pack N’ Play, please hang up and call 911.