When Emio Tomeoni and his wife Stephanie Ramos moved to Kansas City, Missouri, for Stephanie’s job, they were initially without daycare. “We both have perfect jobs, but our hours are completely upside down,” Tomeoni told ABCNews.com. “She’s night side, I work regular hours. Her off-days are weird. We’re making all these adjustments. We didn’t have a solid daycare yet, so I’m taking weird days off and I end up at home with our son in the daytime a lot.”
But when Tomeoni complained of being tired at the end of every day with his son, his wife just brushed it off. After all, she thought, how could he possibly be so pooped when the house looked the same as it did when she’d left for work that morning? What had dada been doing all day? She may have presumed that it wasn’t much, except perhaps for plonking baby Xavier in front of the TV.
So Tomeoni, a video producer, decided to make a little time-lapse movie to show his wife what he and his son got up to on a typical day at home. “Her reaction was ‘OMG’ with about a dozen exclamation points,” Tomeoni later recounted. “If you get at least one, that’s good. But a dozen? That was something.” He also wasn’t expecting the reaction he got from the public.
Yes, Tomeoni’s time-lapse video went viral. Soon, it was even picked up by Good Morning America, which interviewed the family to find out why he had made the video and how it made his wife feel. “It was really odd. I looked at it when I was done with it and my thought was, ‘My wife is going to love this — mainly because the house was clean at the end of the day and I changed his diaper.’ That was my initial thought,” Tomeoni explained. “I wanted to show her something to make her smile.”
So the video begins with Tomeoni and his 21-month-old son Xavier playing together. And, indeed, the house is relatively tidy – until Xavier tips a basket of toys all over the floor. Then the mess gets progressively worse…
Still, Tomeoni doesn’t help matters when he starts emptying out another big trunk of toys for Xavier – just in case the toddler didn’t have enough already. Naturally, then, chaos ensues as Xavier unpacks the trunk, leaving toys covering every square inch of carpet…
While Tomeoni disappears from shot, Xavier gets busy climbing in and out of the trunk and scattering more toys around. Then, Dad returns for cuddles and giggles on the sofa. After that, it’s time to show little Xavier how much noise he can make on the keyboard. In fact, they appear to be playing a complicated tune (using hands and feet) – to the delight of Xavier, who giggles and stomps on the keys even harder.
Then it’s clothes-off time as Xavier gets pink mush all down his nice white T-shirt. Dad strips off, too, but regrets it once he realizes how popular his video is. “I’m half naked in front of the camera. That’s the part that’s tough,” he later explained.
Not content with wrecking the lounge, though, Dad sets up an inflatable toy and climbs in with Xavier. Yes, that’s both of them in there. Apparently, the toy “popped and was beyond repair soon after this video.”
Now it’s time for some drumming – as if the neighbors weren’t happy enough with the earlier piano concerto. Still, Xavier shows he’s got a good sense of rhythm as he bangs away on the bongo with Dad. Then he continues drumming on some of his toys while Tomeoni is on the phone. We’re sure Tomeoni loved that.
After that, it’s clean-up time so that it looks spotless for Mom’s return home from work. In fact, Tomeoni seems to make quick work of restoring the room to its former minimalist state. Oh yeah, this is a time-lapse video; it probably took ages.
This last act, though, is why Ramos thought her man was lying about the amazing amount of time he had spent playing with his son. “When I came home and everything was in its place I’d say, ‘Well today you guys didn’t play hard, because everything is where it needs to be.’”
But Xavier’s mom, a reporter for KMBC 9 News, was thrilled when she saw the video. “It’s peace of mind knowing that my guys are at home enjoying each other and having a blast, so I just love it. I can watch it a million times,” Ramos said.
It was the funny moments that Tomeoni was most happy about capturing on video, such as when he goes in for a high-five and Xavier completely ignores him and turns away. “Those moments are the ones that made me smile and that I wanted to share with my wife,” he explained.
And it’s those moments that captured the hearts of millions of YouTubers. In fact, the video has had more than 32 million views. Plus, 1,700 people have taken the time to compliment Tomeoni on being a great father and to congratulate him for not once turning on the TV.
But the YouTube videos didn’t stop there. In 2014, for instance, Ramos became pregnant with baby boy number two. So, this time, Tomeoni included his wife in his daytime film-making fun, with a new time-lapse movie called “Painting Mama’s Belly.” In it, he and Xavier do just that.
However, they weren’t simply content with painting her whole swollen belly green and blue – presumably so it resembled Earth. No, they proceeded to stick palm trees and plastic animals on it to complete the scene too.
Meanwhile, Tomeoni’s YouTube channel continues to attract heavy traffic. His hilariously cute Harlem Shake video, where his son dances with Elmo and a penguin and dresses up as Spiderman and a bear, attracted more than 25,000 views.
And this should come as good news to today’s stay-at-home dads, who are becoming more prevalent in society. But of America’s two million stay-at-home dads, it’s not known how many of those have actually chosen the job and how many have been forced into the situation by unemployment, which has also had a big impact on the number of men now at home.
However, this doesn’t mean that people have started seeing this relatively new situation as acceptable. In fact, according to Pew Research, roughly “half of Americans think that a child is better off with a mother at home, as opposed to in the workforce; just 8 percent say a child is better off with a stay-at-home father.” Try telling that to Emio Tomeoni.