Thursday, December 20, 2012

Horror, devastation and poorly timed baby visits

You have a baby, and suddenly a lot of people you haven't seen in months want to come by. I know it's cute and magical and gorgeous and a gift of loveliness etcetera. But there's a time and a place for a baby visit.

This was not it.

There's baby people and non-baby people. I totally get that. I'm a non-baby person. Hand me a baby and I will act like you just handed me a primed high-explosive device set to go off in the next twelve seconds.

Of course, now that I have a baby living in my own flat, I have learnt some coping skills and can pretty much manage one for an hour or two without it dying on me.

But other people are baby people. It's just in them, they can't help it, it's part of their DNA. Even if they haven't actually had a baby, they just love kids. Especially babies. And when word gets out that someone they know has had a baby, it's all they can do to hold themselves back from charging off to the delivery room and offering to babysit. They might be six, they might be sixty, these people just love babies. And you've got one!

A few weeks after the birth, all bets are off, and they start physically coming by to visit.

That was our neighbour the other day. She's a lady of a certain age, polite enough and lives alone in unit 17. Vera. I don't know if she's had children of her own, but she's never come around on a social visit so we never got to chat about it.

But once she heard of the arrival of our small child, Phinxoza, she couldn't help herself. The occasion was her returning a set of jumper cables that we'd used to get her Cressida going. That battery was flat as fuck and it took us about six tries to get it going, so I said she should keep the cables in case something went wrong on the way to the dealer. I would come with her, but we just had a baby and my lady's really tired, blah blah blah.

Vera's eyes lit up like she was a shop assistant at The Gap and Justin Bieber, One Direction and the hot Jonas Brother came in to buy hoodies.

"A baby! Is it a boy or a girl? What's her name? When can I come around? Was it natural or caesar? How as the labour? Are you getting much sleep? If you ever need a babysitter!"

So returning the jumper cables was Vera's chance to meet Phinxoza. And she wasn't going to let anybody stop her. Sadly no one told Phinxoza that. Three-week-olds are poor at anticipating special occasions.

On the day Vera came round, Phinxi had just generated a record-breaking shit that strained the very bounds of credibility and her nappie. It's supposed to fill up the back and the bottom of the diaper, right, but this thing was overflowing over the waistband in front. It was collosal, she looked like a Chinese trawl net bringing in a haul of sardines from the bottom of the Yellow Sea.

I had Phinxoza on my lap at the time, and she started doing these kung-fu moves and pulling faces like someone was trying to make her do maths. Kung-poo, is what it really is. Then the great bodge of the apocalypse began emerging from every corner of the nappy. It was visble through her baby-gro, these widening stains covering most of her body, from the shoulders down. My crotch was saturated with this caramel baby-shite. Not smelly, but not pleasant, you understand.

I rushed Phinxo to the changing room and began tearing off clothes. That's when the dreaded second blast occurred. Like a fundamentalist bombing a Middle-Eastern produce market, Phinxoza knows you claim more victims with the second attack, just as the emergency services arrive.

So me and my lady have just delicately opened the nappy and are peering inside, marvelling at the scale of the devastation, when she poos again. This one has force behind it, and with the shock-absorbing walls of the nappy removed, it sprays all over the room. I try shut it down again, but that's like trying to block a fire hydrant with your fist. Shit sprays everywhere, sending flecks all over the room and leaving a fine mist in the air like we've had a feacal humidifier on.

At that point, Vera rings the bell.

I stagger to the door like the blast survivor I am, and open the door just a sliver, I can feel something warm between my eyebrows.

"Hi! Here's your jumper cables," chirps Vera, oblivious. "You mind if I come in and meet your little girl. I've brought presents!" And she barges in with a cake and a fuchsia-pink christening dress, following the cloud of mist to the changing room.

There she finds a scene of utter carnage. We would be needing a mop later, to reach the spots on the ceiling, but cleaning-up operations had yet to start. My lovely wife is there, still traumatised, desperately trying to gather the eleven baby wipes we'll need to even make a dent in this monster. There's flecks...

Vera comes charging in bearing gifts, "Ah! She's beautifu! She's got your eyes! And look at her little nose. She's going to lose her hair still you know. Such a little angel!"

And there's Phinxoza, lying in the middle of the devastation. In the eye of the storm, a little wide-eyed herself. She gives Vera a grumpy look, nostrils flaring and head wobbling. "Thanks for coming," she seems to be saying, "But look, I'm not at my best right now."


Alyn said...

Funny stuff; Hags – I would NOT be coping...
Congratulations to you both, BTW – I hadn't heard the news yet.

Hagen Engler said...

Cheers Al. As you can see, all going according to plan. If you're wondering what I been up to the past few weeks, This is it. Hoper you're good!

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! Every parent has a covered-in-baby-shit story to tell, but yours is pretty special!