Diaper Duty Is Not for the Faint of Heart

This piece was originally published on The 4 a.m. Feed and was reprinted in partnership with The Good Men Project

Image source: Thinkstock
Image source: Thinkstock

I started writing this blog two months ago to capture my emotional journey into parenthood. But let’s face it, most of these blogs have been about poo.

Your entire life changes when you have kids. The three most beautiful words used to be I love you but now it’s puke-free burp.

At the other end of the spectrum, I have a new and terrible three-word sentence which is up there with rail replacement bus and his was bigger.

He hasn’t pooed.

It’s all about context. If you say this yourself after a nappy change, then it means you dodged a shitty bullet and it’s party time. If your wife casually throws it your way as she heads off to bed before you take the reins of the late feed, then you know you’re in for a grizzly affair.

Ben’s nappy was appalling, a ten-wiper. To his credit, he laid still and let me clean his rump with minimum fuss, like a Roman emperor being attended to by his minions.

Next came Zac, and that’s where business really picked up. Some nappy changes turn into a show, and this was our Live Aid. It began as I picked him up and felt simultaneously reviled and intrigued by the smell emanating from his backside — an unsettling combination of burnt Quavers and treacle pudding. I felt sick and hungry at the same time, like after you’ve just eaten at McDonald’s.

I opened his nappy and it was clean. Suspiciously clean, almost too clean. Heavy but none of the brown stuff. If I was quick, I knew I’d get away with it and the wife would have to mop up the consequences at 3 AM. The perfect scenario.

I whipped his old nappy away like that tablecloth trick that leaves the plates and cutlery in place, because he had a look on his face that told me a storm was brewing.

I gave his bum a cursory wipe and reached for the new nappy. That’s when I heard it. He let out a caustic grunt that belonged in the Olympic clean and jerk which told me I had a split second to get the new nappy in place. Hitting the panic button, I stupidly dropped the new nappy on top of the old nappy, causing the adhesive bits to stick together like the worst kind of bunting, and as I fumbled for another new one, he began to trump.

I’ve heard a million different farts in my time but never one like this. It was majestic, celebratory, as if he were signaling the triumphant return home of his troops from a victorious battle. I also felt the full force of its gust on my hand — this thing could have dried towels.

Then the trump played its final note and for the briefest of moments, there was silence. The pure and total kind I get at some of my gigs. He looked me dead in the eye and took a deep breath as a frown more gloomy than a Morrissey B-side descended upon his face.

And then it came. This river of Marmite. And it kept on coming. There’s not much you can do while it’s in progress, you just have to let it happen, like an ice hockey ref waiting for a fight to finish before he steps in.

But this didn’t end. It was relentless. Like a Bruce Springsteen concert or the Leveson Enquiry.

I managed to keep my panic at bay, but only until we began to run out of changing mat — he was covering the whole thing like a dirty game of Risk.

I had to move him away from the danger area but it was impossible, he WAS the danger area. He was doing an uncanny impression of a manic arcade penny pusher machine, kicking his legs back and forth trying to push it off the mat and onto the carpet.

I noticed he’d got some on his foot. This then smeared onto his leg and somehow ended up on my hand and then T-shirt. It was a Rik Mayall T-shirt, so I think he would have approved, strangely.

The whole horrible scene resembled an explosion in a Nutella factory. I didn’t know what to do or where to turn. I just sat there, filled with panic, covered in my sons excrement and wondered, “Is this it? Is this what parenthood is all about? Poo?”

Then he smiled. And then he giggled.

And instantly, none of the previous 10 minutes mattered. In fact, nothing else in the history of the world mattered. Just a baby smiling at his father and his father welling up with joy.

I wiped the tear from my face and in doing so smudged the tiniest globule of my son’s poo across my cheek.

I tried to tell myself it didn’t matter but in my book, faces and poos should never meet. They shouldn’t even exchange pleasantries, never mind get up close and personal with each other.

Top of my to-do list is to design a baby change mask. I’ll take it on Dragon’s Den and make a fortune.

You can follow Sam on Facebook right here.

More from The Good Men Project:

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