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Friday, 21 August 2015

#42: The 15 Types of Baby Puke

I’ve been in loads of pukey situations in my life – lads holidays, rugby tours, choppy boat trips. I even once watched a Celine Dion DVD. But I have never experienced a variety of puking as diverse as since my twins were born.

1.The Seagull
They’ve only just fed but you can’t resist holding them aloft like Superman. It’s so cute! Until on the third swoop they vomit like a drain all over your face. You’re an idiot and you deserve every drop.

2.The Snail Trail
Moves down your back slower than a Child Benefit back-payment, leaving a nasty stream behind it. Normally starts on your shoulder and can end anywhere as low as your calf or ankle.

3.The Low Blow
Puke all over your crotch. Easily the worst place to have a visible stain so you can guarantee this will only happen in Starbucks.

4.The Fangs
Two dribbles, one each side of the mouth. You feed them. You look away. You look back and they’ve turned into baby Dracula.

5.The Beppe
Similar to The Fangs but with an extra line of puke down the centre of the chin. Causing a resemblance with the godawful goatee beard of lesser-known and long forgotten Eastenders character Beppe di Marco. 

6.The Shotgun
A puke with such vociferous force it pushes their head back from the blast. Normally resulting in a mess of such Biblical proportions that you’ll need to get Greenpeace in for the clean-up operation.

7.The Nike Swoosh.
Just Wipe It.

8.The Epilets
A couple of symmetrical attacks that land on the top of your shoulders, giving you the grand title of Sergeant Spew for the rest of the day.

9.The Satellite Delay
It was a textbook feed. If there was a Nobel Prize for guzzling your baby would definitely be in the running. Puke free burps all round – a beautiful thing. You dress them and still nothing. You get them in their car seat and BOOM! You’ll never wear those suede shoes again.

10.The Ghostbusters
When your little bundle of joy decides to pay tribute to the final scene of the classic 1985 movie (when Mr Staypuft The Marshmallow Man explodes and covers most of Manhattan in a gooey white substance.) Also see: ‘He Slimed Me’ as a popular expression from victims.

11.The Channel 5
As in ‘not quite complete coverage’ but there or thereabouts. This joke doesn’t even work in the age of digital TV so thanks in advance for not bringing that up.

12.The Parcel Force
When you can’t possibly predict when or where the barf-delivery will arrive, despite information to the contrary.

13.The Madonna
When their pukey conduct necessitates several full costume changes.

14.The Banksy (Multiples only)
Some call it art. Some call it vandalism. And nobody knows who really did it.

15.The Stealth
You’ve fed and winded them. You’ve put them down for a nap and you’ve moved on with your life. Your friend has popped round and you’ve made them a brew. You’ve both sat down and somehow they’ve now got a thimble full of vomit on the back of their new jumper. Do you tell them? Or do you prove where your baby inherited their sneakiness from?

Saturday, 15 August 2015

#41: Dirty Nappy Panic

I was late home from my gig so was already flapping like a chicken on their way to Nando’s. I got the key in the door at the third attempt. 

“DADDY’S HOME!”

(It gets less tongue-in-cheek and more camp with every passing day.)

My wife’s usual happy reply didn’t arrive. Instead I heard only the sound that every parent craves and dreads in equal measure – silence.

Total, pin-drop, don’t-even-whisper-and-definitely-don’t-trump silence.

I rushed into the living room to see my wife standing in the centre of the room holding Twin 2 at arm’s length, as if she was part of a bomb disposal unit investigating a suspicious airport package. 

This package wasn’t as much suspicious as it was smelly – he stank worse than a tramps duffel coat pocket and was leaking all over the floor like an old radiator.

I’d been out working all day and night so had promised that this was my shift. My wife elatedly reminded me of this as she passed me the dripping baby and skipped off to bed. The skipping was probably more necessity than glee – the specks of fresh bum juice on the carpet had caused her to play a quick game of cack-based hopscotch on her way out of the room.

As I held him like a medicine ball in front of me he gave me a look that said ‘Over to you, dickhead.’

Nappy Panic ™ kicked in and my decision making process dissolved quicker than a tuppence in a glass of Coke.

I put him on the changing mat and tried to take my coat off, forgetting I hadn’t removed the bag from my shoulder. Because I’m not Dynamo this caused my coat to get stuck on my head and for a split second I was back on the playground with someone trying to steal my lunch. I quickly remembered I’m 37 years old and technically the adult in this situation, so I sorted myself out and knelt down to deal with him.

His back door present had stuck to his clothes like toffee on a car seat during a hot day. As I tried to peel his pants off he made a noise that suggested he wasn’t enjoying this experience as much he might. But once I got everything off he seemed to relax.

I then supervised him as he lay on the changing mat so that he could finish the job he’d begun. Giggles, gurgles and smiles were interspersed with strains, grunts and bottom sneezes giving the whole soundscape the feel of an Emo-rock song.

When Twin 2 was changed I looked at Twin 1 and he was sat patiently on the sofa. I thanked him for being a good little boy and he smiled at me which never fails to turn me to mush. These are the moments you live for, there’s nothing like it in the world.

I walked over to pick him up for a quick cuddle and noticed he’d shat everywhere. Rapture was instantly replaced by revulsion - my emotions haven’t changed that quickly since puberty.

At least I thought he’d pooed everywhere. Turns out the entire output from his bottom had gone on a little daytrip around to his belly and left his arse cleaner than a FIFA laptop. His stomach on the other hand was a grizzly mess – it looked like it’d been the recipient of a cheap mud wrap on Groupon.

Their poo has an uncanny knack of finding the gap in whatever nappy brand or size we try. Other parents have warned me about how it gets WORSE when they’re teething. If it gets any worse we’ll have to bite the bullet and wrap our entire house in polythene sheets, like a crime scene from Dexter. 

That'll be the only way we can stem the tide.

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Monday, 10 August 2015

#40: 10 Things I've Learned (as a parent of 4 months)

1. Leaving the house on time is harder than Chinese algebra.

2. A hot cup of coffee is something I used to drink.

3. An ‘epic’ lie-in as a dad means getting up at 8.30am.

4. The Gruffalo’s Child is the best sequel since The Godfather Part II.

5. ‘Has this got poo on it?’ is now the most popular question in our house.

6. Changing rancid nappies is a great way to stop biting your nails.

7. Your childless male friends don’t want to hear in depth stories about your son’s first smile.

8. It’s possible to be so tired that you feel sick.

9. Eating half a pack of biscuits for breakfast every day for a month makes you fat.

10. Having another parent tell you their babies ‘sleep right through’ does not enhance your day.

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Wednesday, 5 August 2015

#39: Tandem Feed Fiasco

It’s quicker to read the entire terms and conditions for iTunes than feed both twins separately. But that’s what we did for ages, one after the other.

My wife kept talking about this mystical 'tandem feed' that we should employ but I kept brushing it off like she was suggesting we start a new box set that required total concentration.

"Yeah, luv. Defo up for having another go at The Wire tomorrow. Let’s just finish season 3 of Mad Men first, eh."

I'm a creature of habit and don't like change, even if that change is clearly an improvement. If I had owned a mill in 1746 I'd have told you to shove your Spinning Jenny and instead ordered more smallpox-riddled peasants for my workforce.

The thought of trying to feed and burp the boys at the same time filled me with dread as the only multi tasking I can handle involves sitting on the toilet with the Sunday papers. I'm not proud of this.

I put Ben on my lap and reached for Zac. By the time I'd put Zac in position (about 1.3 seconds) Ben had wriggled off like The Fugitive. Being still so young they can't quite wriggle properly, instead they lead with their faces which means they struggle to have much choice over where their destination is. He ended up face down on the sofa for a split second which didn’t help anyone.

So I grabbed Ben and while I did this Zac had opted for the same pointless escape route. It felt like an impromptu game of Whack-A-Moley without a mallet.

I knew I needed to pin them down to maintain some form of order but I was still very aware that they are little babies and the last thing I’d want to do is accidentally hurt them.  When I first picked Zac up at the hospital I did the classic I’m-a-new-dad-so-I'm-holding-my-baby-like-it’s-live-explosives routine and the midwife said 'don't worry. You can't break him.' I remember thinking that she hadn’t seen just how clumsy I could be. (I once trod dog muck into my mum’s new carpet, kicked over a pint of juice and blew the fuse for the living room in the space of eight seconds.)

So I put my hand on Zac's chest and tried to manoeuvre Ben back into position. I was starting to feel like a pathetic supply teacher at this point so I thought I'd best try and get the bottles in.

I grabbed one in each hand and aimed for their mouths, getting Ben in the ear and somehow Zac in the stomach. I had another go, feeling like a nervous skier. This time I hit the jackpot and both teets landed in their mouths. I wanted to wave to the crowd like a golfer who’d just putted a birdie but I didn’t have a free hand and there was no crowd. So I didn’t.

At first Ben had decided he'd forgotten how to feed and was biting at the teet like it was corn on the cob at his end-of-diet celebratory barbecue. But once I readjusted there was a blissful moment as both boys instantly stopped wriggling and started gurgling with sheer pleasure. For a short time they perfectly took it in turns to coo and if I closed my eyes I felt like the umpire at the cutest tennis match of all time. (I realise that tennis umpires should probably keep their eyes open during rallies.)

After five minutes of total calm it was time to burp them so I took their bottles out. The beautiful silence vanished - quicker than my credibility when I mistakenly dressed as John McEnroe at a party that definitely wasn’t fancy dress - and was replaced by a noisy kind of chaos I hadn’t experienced to this point – both boys thrashing their limbs about and screaming like it was an Iron Maiden audition.

My customary panic kicked into overdrive and all decision making skills left the room.

I grabbed Ben and lifted him over my shoulder but as I did so he puked right down my front. Zac had started to do that baby cry that morphs into an angry cough so I quickly grabbed him and tried to coax a burp out but he was having none of it. I felt like I was suddenly afflicted by an aggressive form of tinnitus in my right ear so I put him down and reached for his dummy but it was just out of reach. Like Frodo desperately scrambling for his ring on Mount Doom I managed to just about grab it, despite the fact that this situation was far more perilous than a millennia of dark rule over The Shire.

Putting their dummies in had an amazing effect, like plugging a hole in the bath of madness. I hadn’t burped them properly but it was proving impossible so after getting my breath back I put their bottles back in. Risky business.

They took the next part of their bottles like it was night one of their first lads holiday to Magaluf but they wouldn’t stop squirming out of position. Ben was moving his head from side to side like a bad Stevie Wonder impersonator and Zac kept trying to break into a rendition of the Cossack by kicking his legs all over the shop.

The burping was more tricky than plate spinning so I decided to go right through to the end without any more attempts. This was to prove my ultimate undoing.

As they finished the last of their formula I continued the lads holiday theme by putting both bottles on my head and shouting, ‘Waaaaaaay!’ like a proper tit. They also continued this theme by simultaneously ejecting a week’s supply of vomit all over me.

It was an awful scene. I hadn’t had this much puke on me since the night I discovered Cheeky Vimto – both lads just let rip and covered me like I was in the gunk tank on Funhouse.

I didn’t know what to do next – should I move them away from the river of filth? Should I move one and try to clean the other with the sleeve of my t-shirt? Should I be a man about this or should I just panic and shout my wife?

“BABE! GET IN HERE! PLEASE! WE’VE GOT A SITUATION!”

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