I am writing this column one-handed. To be honest that’s how I’ve done all my columns (I find writing for the Metro very arousing), but this time I feel no shame. And without the shame it’s impossible to get things going anyway.
My six day old daughter resting on my lap. It’s difficult to concentrate with her big blue eyes staring up at me. But then I remember the cost of nappies and all the other stuff and I think it gives me the incentive to crack on.
My new life as a dad is bamboozling and slightly terrifying (like all new parents I have been poking my baby every few minutes to check she is still breathing), but it’s truly amazing. Sure I get ripped from sleep in the middle of the night, but my life has this lovely trippy tinge of bubbling joy.
It didn’t feel right that we were allowed to take this tiny human home from the hospital without passing some test or getting a licence. There was more paperwork and interrogation about our home life involved when we adopted our cats Liono and Smithers from Battersea Dog and Cats Home. With a baby they just trust that if you’re able to work out how to make one then you’re going to be capable of looking after it. The problem with this is that I am not entirely sure how we made her.
I thought we might get a training seminar, but we were just thrown in at the deep end. Literally in the case of the nappies. When I was a younger man, it was the idea of soiled Pampers, more than anything else, that made me wary of fatherhood. How horrific and undignified to have to clean up someone else’s bum gravy? I don’t know why because it’s something that you do every day, if only for yourself. But even I still objected to the idea, there was no way out of it now. My baby had turned on the chocolate fountain for the first time and I was the only one around to deal with it.
I was nervous about it, though it’s hardly rocket science. You just have to wipe away all the stuff that isn’t part of the baby (well not anymore).
To begin with poo is black and like Marmite. Not in that you either love it or you hate it, (you’d have to be a bit weird to actively love it) but in appearance. Over the best few days your baby’s bottom brew goes through a frankly unappealing colour chart, taking you through greeny brown, Dijon (or even English) mustard before becoming the brown Crap Classic that we’re all more familiar with.
Weirdly after all the trepidation, I find I actually rather enjoy nappy changes . Cleaning a baby’s bum is just like one of those dull repetitive iPhone games that people love. Can you wipe away all the poo and put on a new nappy before the screen (baby’s nether regions) again fill up with poo and you have to do the same thing again? If you don’t get all the poo then you lose the game. If you clear it all away and avoid nappy rash you go on to the next level, where the poo is a different colour. Or earn a bonus wee level.
Talking of which, I am going to have to go. But first, a massive thank you to the NHS and the brilliant staff at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. I almost forgive you for letting “Sliding Doors” film in your lifts.