Those of you who read this blog regularly (all three of you) will know that halfway through last year I became a father. Surprisingly it’s taken nearly six months to write a blog about it, when I’ve been more than happy to rant about pricks on trains and the latest things I’ve seen on Netflix in the meantime. I guess I figured there were enough Dad Blogs out there already.
Henry (my son) and the entire act of parenting is a mind-blowing experience. I’ve learned a lot about life and myself, and in these semi-regular segments I’ll share some of these lessons (if you can call them that) with you in a (hopefully) more engaging way than the multitude of sites out there that think having ‘mum’ in the URL makes them a legitimate source of information (but more about them another time).
If you have an aversion to bodily fluids (particularly those of other people), becoming a parent is an expedient way to get over it. The most obvious and well-trodden (not literally) medium is poop.
Babies teach you a host of things about shit that you probably always knew but never really contemplated before. First and foremost, the variety in colour and consistency. Once babies start eating more than milk you experience a veritable rainbow that ranges from yellow-ish/orange-ish to green-ish to brown-ish and everything in between.
OK, it’s not literally a rainbow – but if my son started shitting blue or purple I’d be rather concerned.
Military camouflage has saved an insurmountable number of lives in global conflict over the last couple of centuries, but I’m pretty certain it was created accidentally by a father who simply forgot to wipe baby shit off him (not having a mirror in which to notice just how badly he’d got it everywhere) and managed to go through a war completely undetected by not just the enemy troops but his own family. The only ones who could see him were babies, but given the lack of infants enlisted in the armed forces back then and the fact that they lack the ability to operate a firearm or to shout ‘HALT!’, he emerged from the other side of the war completely unscathed.*
That, or he just stank and no one wanted to come near him. Both tactics are still employed today.
Variety in consistency is another thing that we’re all aware of, but I can’t go past the topic without failing to mention that while changing my son’s nappy last week I came across one particular sample that, I kid you not, looked exactly like a patty that you would find on any of the ‘vege-burgers’ that are available at cafés and restaurants around the world. Stuck together but perfectly flattened by his rolling butt-cheeks, it even smelled like one, and I almost guarantee that had I put it on a roll with some lettuce leaves and a slice or two of tomato, at least six out of 10 vegetarians would have been unable to tell the difference.
Then again, it was pretty small, so I guess it would have to be a SLIDER! HAHAHAHA.
I’m aware that there are parents out there who are, how should we say, less than enthusiastic about changing a nappy filled with last night’s dinner.
My advice? I can’t really offer any other than telling you to JUST GET AMONGST IT. Yes, it stinks, but what are you expecting? Doesn’t yours? Yes, it’s gross, but if it really disgusted you THAT much I imagine you’d have difficulty wiping your own arse. Why do you do that? Because society demands it? A little bit, I guess. I can’t imagine sitting here on a crowded train having not wiped myself for the past few days, but the smell from some people makes me wonder.
There are few more rewarding feelings than the love in your baby’s eyes (and they will make eye contact, a lot of it, it’s kind of creepy) as you navigate their genitals and ass crack with a wet wipe, trying, and often failing, not to get poo on your fingers.
Either that or they’re smiling because they think the fact that the power they have to make you, a grown adult, wipe their filthy butt is hilarious. Little bastards.
Then there’s vomit.
While poo is 95% of the time confined to the outer limits of a nappy, vomit is another story. You might have fed and burped your baby, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t saving something for the moment you least expect it. You can sit there with your chuck cloth over your shoulder, patting and rubbing them gently, but it won’t be until you’ve stopped and let your guard down, completely confident that if they were going to chuck they would have done it by now, that they’ll unleash a stream of bubbling white warmth right at you. Velocity is the only variable, and it can range anywhere from a trickle to a full-blown high speed projectile. It’s good for improving your reflexes, and regularly washing your pants, shirts and beard (should you have one).
That’s a big thing about being a baby that we only get to appreciate looking back. There is no chance in hell that I could vomit on someone these days and be instantly forgiven by smiling and gnawing on the cloth that they’re trying to wipe the vomit off my face with. Trust me, I’ve tried. Some of us might be lucky to get our butts wiped again one day when we’re old and senile, and I still dribble from time to time, but you can’t chuck on anyone anymore and still be considered adorable. Those were the days.
I’ll leave it there. I honestly can’t say I thought I’d spend my first dad blog talking solely about poo and vomit, but I should have seen it coming. Contrary to what you’re probably thinking after that, parenthood is amazing. It can be smelly, but so can I, and I’m old enough to know better.
There will be more, less disgusting, parenting posts to come. Until then.
*Which war? I don’t know, it’s a joke you idiot.