Day 347 - Easy Riders, Raging Baby

AKA - Lake Cesspit


We’ve just arrived at a lake on the Hungarian/Austria border that quite magnificently translates as Lake Cesspit.  The in-laws are with us and the plan is to hire three bikes between the five of us (the five includes baby Mila), and then spend the next three days making our way around the lake.  We hire the bikes and off we go, looking uncannily like an alternate reality Goonies.  Zsuzsa has elected to drive today so it’s just me, the in-laws and a baby.

The scenery is spectacular and as I mend my merry way through the Austrian countryside I can’t help but feel like I’m in the film Easy Rider.  I’m playing Peter Fonda and naturally, Mila is Dennis Hopper.  You don’t need me to tell you that the mother in law is obviously Jack Nicholson.


We’re staying in a lovely little rustic motel/vineyard just over the Hungarian border.  It’s three in the morning and Mila is wailing like a banshee.   Alas, it’s my turn to deal with her and Zsuzsa’s turn to pretend to be asleep.  With Mila screaming as though she were on fire, I decide to change her nappy.  I put her down on the spare bed, turn on my phone torch, remove her nappy and then fumble around in a vain attempt to put a fresh nappy on her pink little butt.  Mila is refusing to play ball and is howling and rolling around on the bed like a South American footballer following a rogue gust of wind.  I’m exasperated.  I’m tired.  I’m also naked by the way.  Suddenly the door to the hotel room opens and in walks the mother in-law to help calm my distressed baby.  Did I mention I was naked?  I’m also surprised as I thought our door was locked.  The mother in-law sees me and continues with her relentless advance.  What the devil is she doing!?  I then notice that she doesn’t have her glasses on and is yet to realise that the only thing I’m wearing is a look of utter despair.  I do the only thing that I can do and dive for cover behind the bed.  Luckily, Zsuzsa intervenes and shepherds her mother out of the room like a trusty, old sheep dog. 

It’s now the following morning.  It’s my turn to drive and we’ve agreed to regroup in an hour or so in the next village.  Mila’s fast asleep in the back of the car as we approach the Austrian border.  I notice border police stopping cars and get a familiar feeling.  It’s the same feeling that I get every time I walk through the “Nothing to Declare” section at airports.  Namely, the feeling that I am coming across like a heroin smuggler.  Every time I try and appear as un-heroin smuggler-like as possible, but in my head I’m exuding heroin-smuggler-ness.  Now, as I approach the border police, I’m trying desperately to not look like a child snatcher!  I pull to a stop and the border policeman’s mirror tinted face glares in.  I smile at him, probably in the exact style of a child snatcher.  He waves me through and I breath a sigh of relief.

Twenty minutes later and I’ve reached a village called Rust, parked in a street called Seekanal and I'm awaiting the cyclist’s arrival.  At least I hope that’s the street name rather than some kind of designated activity area.  After a full day of cycling yesterday, I’m a little sore, and that’s pretty much the last thing I’m seeking right now if truth be told.

Absolute gangsters

Absolute gangsters


The final leg of our cycling adventure.  We spent last night in a spa-hotel and we’re now sitting in a lovely little pop-up cafe/bar in the middle of a vineyard.  The temperature is in the mid-thirties so we’ve found a little shade to cool ourselves while we quench our thirst with white wine spritzer.  

“Mila had five poohs today!” Zsuzsa proudly announces.  “Two before breakfast!  Just like her Daddy!”

Naturally both Mila and I are furious with her mother’s loose tongue.  I’m internally debating how to deal with her, when Mila takes the bull by the horns.  She reaches out, grabs her mother’s drink and pours it away.  Unfortunately for me the majority goes over my crotch.  My hands and my clothes are drenched.  I sigh and then turn to face the sun in an attempt to dry off.  Out of the corner of my eye I notice the father in-law watching me.  I turn to him and he smiles.

“Foreskin.” he says.

“Uh.”  I reply.

“White wine.  Good for skin.”

“Oh.  Is it?” I say.

I have to admit, I'm a little relived.

A few hours later and our cycling adventure is over.  We’re all tired and sore, and as we head back to Budapest I’m remembering when I used to (try) to play the guitar.  After a while the skin on the tips of my fingers became hard and tough to deal with the constant strumming.  As I nurse my sore bottom I can’t help but wonder if cyclists experience a similar phenomena.  I mean, do all professional cyclists have very tough butt skin?  Don't pretend that it’s something that you’ve never pondered.   

That's all folks!

That's all folks!

Day 325 - Caractacus Hutchins

AKA - The Latter Day Jesus

I’m trying in vain to put a nappy on my baby’s naked little arse, when I’m hit by a moment of inspiration.  I am suddenly Archimedes sitting in a bath.  I am Sir Isaac Newton rubbing his sore head after being hit with an apple.  I am Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense when his wife’s wedding ring falls to the ground.


Why does this not already exist?  Think about it.  How easier would your life be if you had a simple machine that you could dip a baby in whenever they needed a fresh nappy?  Something like a vacuum packing machine that specializes in baby butts.  Dip them in, placing their legs in stirrups and voila!  Obviously you'd need a baby to feel its full benefit, but still.

People may scoff.  People may laugh.  People may mock.  People no doubt scoffed at Archimedes when he revealed his meat and two veg to the other people sitting in a public bath and shouted “Eureka!”.  But look at him now!  Okay, he’s probably a bit on the boney side, but you remember him don’t you?  People will remember me in the same way.  I will be lauded and held up as a bloody hero to millions of shit covered parents while they are dipping their baby in their very own Hutchins machine (obviously it should be named after its creator to cement my legacy).  Maybe I could even create a premium one with three different compartments.  One to clean, one to cream and one to apply the nappy.  Similar to the process of making scotch eggs (where you dip your meaty egg in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs)!

Later that day I meet up with Zsuzsa in the throbbing heart of Pest.  She has Mila strapped to her and she's sleepy.  So sleepy in fact, that later this evening she will give Mila a bath and forget to remove her socks.

“What do you think honey?” I ask.

“About what?” she replies.

“Getting my nappy changing machine patented?”


But there’s no conviction in her voice.  No passion.  I can see right through her and she’s not enthused by my nappy changing idea!  I'm perplexed.  Does she not recognize real genius when it’s smack-bang in front of her!?  Does she not see me in my true guise?  The modern day incarnation of Caractacus Potts?   Does she not remember that this is the same man who once put a shelf up in our old flat, and only ruined half of the wall in the process?  Where’s the confidence?

I’m disappointed.  I thought she’d be all over this shit, chomping at the bit to get her hands on such a machine.  After all, trying to dress Mila now is akin to putting a bow-tie on an eel.  She’s a slippery little pickle who refuses to stay still and cooperate.  I never realized how easy the whole nappy changing process was until our little cub decided it about time to get mobile and start moving around all over the place. 

I sigh, but then I look at my beautiful, sleep deprived wife and I soften.  I can’t be too harsh on her.  She hasn’t slept since August!  Anyway, I remember that she had a similar, initial response to my design to combine a baby’s bottle with a hamster style feeder, to go on the side of the cot.  Four thousand night-time trips to the cot to offer her nipple to a screaming baby later however, and her tune has significantly changed.

“Will you hurry up and make that bloody hamster-technology inspired baby feeder!” she now says, whilst nursing her savaged nipples.

No, she’ll come around.  She will be my partner in crime and my biggest supporter.  In fact, maybe I’ll name it in her honour to show my gratitude to her for being my muse and for all those sleepless nights.  As a selfless act I may even forget my initial plan to call it The Hutchins Machine.  I’ll be like Jesus, who I hear also refused to give his name to a nappy changing machine.

In years to come, baby’s arses all over the word will be covered by…The Zsuzsa.  The poor lamb’s earned it.

Coming to  shop near you, this Christmas

Coming to  shop near you, this Christmas

Day 222 - The Shit Storm

"Run for your lives!  There's a shit cloud coming!"

My little ladies.  One slightly shittier than the other.

My little ladies.  One slightly shittier than the other.

Mila, if you’re reading this from the future, I apologise.  Perhaps someone has dredged this up on your wedding day and decided to embarrass you.  Perhaps that someone is me!  To be fair it does sound like something I would do, and in that case I apologise again, but this week you’ve had diarrhoea.  A lot of diarrhoea.  Basically our week has been a huge tsunami of baby shit from start to finish and it all came out of your little baby butt.

It started just before we went away for a few days.  I’m not at home, but I get a WhatsApp message rom Zsuzsa…

“She just had a Niagara Falls of poo!”

I put two and two together and decide that Zsuzsa’s talking about Mila, not her mother who she’d been speaking to earlier.

We’d planned to go away for a few days to visit the in-laws, and despite our worry that this is just the beginning of a vicious assault on our senses, we decide to stick to our plans.

Feeling very sorry for herself

Feeling very sorry for herself

A few shit filled days later and we return home.  It hits us instantly.  A wall of stench.

“What the hell is that smell!?” asks Zsuzsa.

“Smells like someones shat in our radiators!” I gasp.

“There must be a rogue shitty nappy somewhere in the flat.” Zsuzsa deduces.

And so we set to work.  We search every nook and cranny of the flat.  I’m surprised as I previously didn’t realise how many nooks that our flat had.  I've often suspected that our flat had more than its fair share of crannies, but not so many nooks.  We search for about half an hour, find nothing, and eventually give up.  We are beginning to accept that we will always live in a bog of eternal stench, but we’re hoping that eventually, we will become accustomed to the smell.  Dinner parties might be a hard sell though.

The next day, I escape from our cloud of shit particles and head to the office.  A few hours later and I get another WhatsApp message from Zsuzsa…

“Her little bum is red and sore and her tummy is still upset.  I’m using a camomile tea infused Muslim to wipe her butt.”

I’m guessing the Muslim is probably equally as upset as Mila’s tummy is, perhaps even more so.  Zsuzsa will later accuse autocorrect, saying that she meant muslin (cloth), but I have my doubts.  I’m blaming Donald Trump.

It’s now Friday.  We eventually found the rogue nappy (hiding in the bathroom bin).  Mila is supposed to have a swimming lesson and to be fair her shit festival appears to be coming to an end, but just to be safe we decide to give swimming a miss.  Instead, like some kind of wild, rock n’ roll rebel, I’ve decided to pop Mila into her buggy and visit the local shopping centre to buy a pepper grinder.

Feeling like Iggy Pop I'm now in a kitchen utensil shop looking for pepper grinders, but something catches my eye.  It’s a massive glass piggy bank.  I instantly decide that this is what is missing from my life.  This is the item to complete our joyous existence.  I pick the piggy bank up, pop it under my arm and head towards the counter.  Being the conscientious Dad that I am, I look in the buggy to check on our little shitty cub.  A glassy eyed, motionless baby face stares back at me.  I look closer.  Still no movement.  My heart begins to pound.  I wave my free hand back and forth, millimetres from her face.  Nothing.  

“Oh my God!  Mila!”

I’m panicking.   With my free hand I slap her chubby little baby cheeks a few times.  Mila turns and looks at me, a look of shock on her face.  She had for some reason unbeknownst to me, decided to fall asleep with her eyes wide open.  I was gentle with my slapping, but her expression tells me that this was not how she wanted to be roused from her slumber.    

Mila and a pig shaped witness

Mila and a pig shaped witness

So, if you happened to be in a kitchen utensil shop in Budapest on Friday morning and saw a man, holding a massive piggy bank with one hand, whilst frantically slapping a baby with his other, that was me.

And Mila, I apologise again, this time for waking you up by slapping your little baby face, but now it’s time for you to apologise.  You need to apologise for sending me in to a blind panic by sleeping with your goddamn eyes open in a kitchen utensil shop in Budapest on January 27th, 2017!  Who the hell does that!? 

Happy wedding day by the way.  Enjoy the rest of 2046.

Day 160 - The Number 2

The Number 2

I’m in our car with my little, oestrogen infused family, hurtling towards Zsuzsa’s parent’s house, which is nestled in a little village near Eger.  I’m smiling at myself in the mirror.  Out of the corner of my beady eyes I notice Zsuzsa watching me.  She looks perplexed.

“What are you doing?” she asks.

“Practicing my smile.” I reply.  “I’m thinking about developing a new one.”


“Well I’m just not sure it’s a perfect smile for the camera.  I think I can do better.”

I continue to work on my new smile.

“Maybe I should get my teeth whitened.” I add.

“You don’t need your teeth whitened honey”

“Um, I think you’re forgetting that I’m a TV presenter now.  I don’t want them looking all murky on screen.”

Zsuzsa sighs.  “You’re not a TV presenter.”

I decide to ignore this cruel comment as I have work to do.  I have a new smile to craft.

My tooth related conundrum is due to the fact that I’ve recently signed a contract with The Dad Network to be a vlogger for them.  This means that I’ll be making videos for baby related products as well as creating videos for Warner Bros who The Dad Network are in partnership with.  Earlier in the week I received my first brief.  Create a 2-3 minute video with the title “How to Change a Nappy”.

The leading lady

The leading lady

I’ve spent the last few days filming and crafting my magnum opus.  It's called 'The Number 2' and it's my ‘Citizen Kane’ of instructional YouTube clips.  My ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ of shitty nappy films.  It's 3 minutes long and it's unquestonably a nappy changing video of epic scale.  It has drama, twists and humour, and undoubted chemistry between the two movie leads, Gareth Michael Hutchins and Mila Juno Hutchins.  The surprise cameo from Zsuzsa Ferencz is also a high point, and hotly tipped to take home the Oscar for best cameo in an instructional YouTube clip for Dads.  Feeling very much like Martin Scorsese, I send my masterpiece off to The Dad Network for review.

A few days later and I get a reply.  It’s great news!

“So Warner Bros LOVE you and want you to do the official How to videos!  Warners showed it to an 18-25 year old audience who thought it was excellent!” the email reads. 

Woo hoo!

“They love it honey!” I bellow to Zsuzsa who is no doubt somewhere in the flat, tit out with a baby attached to her nipple.

“Hooray!” comes a distant reply.

I then sit down to watch the Warner Bros edit that they’ve also sent to me.  Hmmm.  That’s weird.  What’s this music?  Uh…they appear to have omitted my “WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME!” speech.  The fools!  That was a really powerful bit with real gravitas!  I carry on watching.  What!?  Where’s my joke about tupperware parties!  That joke was comedy gold!  I shrug off the tupperware blow and continue to watch the edit.  Whoah!  Whoah!  Whoah!  My Rocky speech!  Where’s my Rocky speech!?  You can’t have a video on how to change a baby’s nappy without a Rocky Balboa speech!

The video ends.  I sit there, motionless.  Zsuzsa appears.

“What’s wrong honey?”  she asks.

“My film.  That’s not my original vision.” I say.

“Don’t worry honey.  It’s still great and at least you’re getting paid.  You’re a professional film maker now!”

I consider her words and decide that she’s probably right.  This is probably a common occurrence for filmmakers.  I’m just another director battling a film studio.  People will just have to wait for the blu-ray release of my director's cut edition of ‘How to Change a Nappy’ to see my original vision.

I pull myself together, go online and order some tooth whitening gel.


Day 144 - Déjà Pooh

Déjà Pooh

This little face hasn't been this worried since her last bath-time.

This little face hasn't been this worried since her last bath-time.

“Honey!  Can you please stop watching the election!?  Mila keeps looking at the light on your phone and won’t go to sleep!” Zsuzsa whispers loudly.

“But it’s the American election!  A historic moment!  I just want to watch it until some of the results come in so that I can sleep soundly knowing that The Donald isn’t going to win.”

I’m actually watching an iguana fight a gang of snakes on YouTube.

“Okay, but at least go under the covers or something so that Mila can’t see the light.”

Under the covers I go.  Things are not looking good for the iguana.

I have been watching the election.  The reptilian battle royale was just a brief respite from the political, potential catastrophe.  For the last couple of days I’ve had a horrible feeling that the orange, leather faced, sex pesty one was going to clinch it.  The polls and the bookies all suggested that Hilary was going to reign victorious, but we’ve been here before haven't we?  My impending doom sensors had been tingling.  Less than five months ago I lay in the same bed in our Budapest flat, heavily pregnant wife beside me and watched in horror as my home country slowly committed hari kari and voted to leave the EU.  Now, I’m lying here again, twenty percent poorer due to the bastardly Brexit, wife and three month old baby by my side, worrying about the state of the world in which little Mila will blossom.

"Run you crazy little iguana!  Run as fast as your scaly little legs will carry you!  You must escape the clutches of these slithery beasts!"

It’s been a funny day full of anniversaries and achievements.  It’s exactly a year ago since my first book, Ferocious Dennis was published, and also exactly a year ago since Mila became more than just a twinkle in her mother’s eye.  I’ve also started a new job at a funky media agency in the beating heart of Pest.  I should be happy and proud, but there is an ominous orange shadow hanging over me, breathing it’s foreboding breath upon the nape of my neck.

Project Mila's year anniversary

Project Mila's year anniversary

A few minutes later and I’m still under the covers clutching my phone.  Things are not looking good.  The iguana is hopelessly outnumbered as the dastardly snakes attack!  As well as that, the first results from the first few states have trickled through.  Trump is leading 19 to 3.  I quickly check The New York Times forecaster.  They are still predicting a Clinton victory with an 82% likelihood.  Good odds, but I’m still uneasy.  Maybe it’s the sense of déjà vu engulfing me.

“Honey!  Mila can still see the light through the duvet!  Please!  I need to get to sleep and you’ve got work in the morning.”

“Okay, okay.”

“How’s it looking?”

“Well Trump is ahead, but the forecasts are still predicting a Clinton win.  Maybe he was always predicted to win these states.”

I don’t know who I’m trying to convince.  Zsuzsa or myself.  If it’s myself I’m doing a lousy job.

I watch the iguana make a miraculous escape, decide enough is enough, put my phone down and try to go to sleep.  It takes a while, but I eventually drift off.  I dream that I am in Wales.  I’m in my recently deceased Grandma’s house.  Donald Trump is sitting in her chair.  He’s wearing an ill-fitting t-shirt with a Welsh flag design.  He’s just sitting there, staring at me with his stupid face and silly hair flapping about.  A snake slithers passed.  I hear a baby cooing and I’m yanked from my dreamland.  It’s Mila.  She’s decided that as it’s 0600 it’s time to wake up.  I reach for my phone, check the news.  Bum.  This is like Steve Brookstein winning The X-Factor all over again, but much, much worse. 

A few hours later and I’m in the office for my second day at work.  I’m sitting on the toilet reading the outpouring of woe on social media.  I reach for the toilet paper.  Holy mother of God!  There isn’t any!  Armageddon has already begun!  I sit there panicking for a few moments trying to work out what to do?  What would Batman do if he was stuck on a toilet, on his second day at a new workplace?  I decide that he'd probably keep some spare toilet paper in his utility belt, the uber prepared rubber suited prick!  Well screw you and your utility belt Batman!  I'm going to do this my way!  So, absolutely terrified, I stealthily make my way across the toilet room floor, shuffling like a penguin with my trousers around my ankles.  I successfully complete my mission.  I will be clean!  I will not have an unspeakable second day at work that will haunt me forever!

Back at my desk I ponder the events of the last twenty four hours or so.  Things are looking decidedly bleak, but then I remember our friend the iguana.  Things didn’t look great for the iguana, but did he give up?  Did he fuck!

Maybe that's the answer!  Maybe we should all be more iguana.  Either way, I'm sure things will be alright in the end.

They will won't they?

The most thrilling action sequence of all time?

Day 119 - Carry on Budapest

Carry on Budapest

Alas I didn't take a photo of the old man in pants, so this image of Mila trying to act cool will have to do.

Alas I didn't take a photo of the old man in pants, so this image of Mila trying to act cool will have to do.

There's an old man standing in our flat in his underpants.

It's our neighbour.  He rang the doorbell a few moments ago and when I opened it the scantily clad gent invited himself in.  He’s trying to say something to me in English, but struggling to find the words.  I think he’s asking if the noise from a neighbouring flat is bothering us, but to be honest, the only thing that’s bothering me at this precise moment in time is the old man standing in my flat in just his underpants and an open, extravagantly multi-coloured overcoat.  He looks like Joseph from Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, if Joseph had recently divorced, lost his job and then turned to the bottle for comfort.    

“Maybe, best if I speak to Zsuzsa?” he says.  “I struggle for the English”.

Zsuzsa, you may well remember, is the artist formerly known as 'wife'.

“Zsuzsa!” I bellow.  "Our neighbour is standing in our flat in just his pants.  Help me!" I want to add.  

Then I remember.  Zsuzsa is in her underwear in our spare bedroom and our spare bedroom is only a few yards away from our erotically dressed neighbour.  She’s trapped!  I block our neighbour’s path to prevent him getting an eyeful of wife while I try and work out a plan.  Moments later though and Zsuzsa confidently appears.  She’s wearing a large ski jacket (the only thing to hand).  She walks up to our neighbour and I leave them to it.  Just two people having a chat about a nearby, Austrian oboe player.  One wearing saggy white underpants and a coat made from the skin of butchered teletubbies, and the other a ski jacket in a sweltering hot flat.  

I then have an idea.  This morning we read that Mila is now at the age where she should begin to laugh.  On reading this we spent the day tickling her feet, doing silly dances, flaring our nostrils and making funny noises.  Alas we haven't even managed to raise so much as a snigger.  We're disappointed, but also relieved that this means that Mila probably isn't a Daily Star reader.  But maybe the unusual sight of an old man in pants will make Mila giggle!  I fetch our baby girl and show her the old man in pants.  Mila just stares at him and frowns.  

The following morning and Zsuzsa has left me alone with our sleeping cub.  I’m very proud of myself as I’ve been ultra productive while Mila sleeps.  I’ve been beavering away with a work project and I’ve also done some rigorous exercise. 

I’m about to jump in the shower when I hear something.  A baby cry.  Fudgenuts!  I eventually decide to solve this crying baby, stinky body conundrum by bringing Mila’s play mat into the bathroom so that I can keep an eye on her while I shower.  I plonk Mila down on the floor, switch on the shower, let my dressing gown drop and I’m about to step in to the steamy hot water when I hear a noise that I haven’t heard before.  It’s a laugh.  A baby laugh.  My baby’s laugh.

I turn to Mila to see what on earth could be so funny.  What could it be?  One of her cuddly toys?  A strange sound?  Has she just discovered her own feet?  None of the above.  It’s Daddy’s ‘bits’.  She has suddenly decided that Daddy’s ‘bits’ are hilarious.  Brilliant.

“Ok, Mila.  You can stop your giggling now.”

But Mila is having none of it.  Her little baby face is contorted with hilarity.  It’s apparently the funniest thing that she’s ever seen in all of her nine weeks on Earth.

I point my baby in the other direction, continue with my self conscious shower and reminisce about those halcyon days before Mila learnt to laugh.


Day 110 - Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation

The Wife and I

The Wife and I

I’m sitting in a waiting room, waiting for a business meeting.  After a few minutes, the lady who I’m meeting appears at the door with a beaming smile.

“Hi.  I’m sorry, but I won’t be giving you any pussy today.  I’m a bit sick”. she says.

I’m now worried that I’ve misread the agenda.  I mean I’m all for being friendly, but that’s the kind of greeting that you rarely get, even in Essex.  I’m also not sure that my wife would approve.  She’s funny like that.

The meeting runs its course, and true to her word, I am given no pussy.  Not even a little bit!

An hour or so later and I’m on the phone to my wife, recounting the tale of the friendly greeting.

“She mean’t ‘puszi'!  It’s Hungarian for kiss!” she explains.

“So it’s not a Hungarian custom?” I ask.

“This isn’t Ancient Rome!”

"And you're absolutely positive it isn't to do with the fact that I'm having a really good hair day today?"

"She meant 'kiss'!"

I’m relieved as I have a few other business meetings scheduled for the next few days, one with a fairly elderly gentleman who smells of tinned spam.

“That’s a very funny misunderstanding” I say.  “It’s definitely going in my blog.”

“Don’t put it in your blog!” my wife says.  “If she reads it she will be mortified.”

Later that evening my wife has a look on her face that suggests that something is wrong.

“What’s wrong?” I ask.

“Nothing.” she replies.

Shit.  This mean’s something is definitely wrong.

I prod and poke her until she eventually caves.

“You know your blog?” she says.

“I’m aware of said blog” I reply.

“How come you only ever refer to me as ‘wife’?” my wife says.  “Everyone else has a name.  Mila has a name.  You have a name.  I’m just ‘wife’.”

“I don’t know.”  I say.  “I think I just called you wife in the first one and then continued to run with it.  Would you like me to name and shame you?”

“I want a name.” my wife says adamantly.

It’s later that evening and Mila is having one of those nights.  We can’t stop her crying for love nor money.  My wife’s well appears to be running dry and not even the trusty old dancing to AC/DC trick appears to be working.  

We try the dummy, but she keeps spitting it out.  As a side note, why don’t they make dummies with elastic face bands?  If they're good enough for party hats.  By the way, you can have that one for free.  I’ll keep an eye out for you next year on Dragon’s Den.

After several hours of nursing, comforting and "shushing", my wife eventually gets Mila off to sleep.  I sneak in to the bedroom where they’re both lying.  A lullaby is playing.  It's a lullaby that we've heard thousands of times over the last few months, and it’s starting to make me want to eat my own feet, just to take my mind of it. 

"Shall I change the music?" I ask with pleading eyes.

"As long as it's gentle and quiet.” my wife replies, barely audible.

I scroll through my iTunes.  I find The Carnival of the Animals, a magical piece of classical music that you'd recognise from countless films.  I turn the volume down to near silent and press play.

But my iPhone has other ideas.  It quite fancies listening to The Beastie Boys at full volume.  My iPhone is a despicable dick.


Mila is awake.

Zsuzsa is livid.

There will be no puszi for me tonight.

Zsuzsa aka The Wife

Zsuzsa aka The Wife

Photos courtesy of @zsolt.barabas.

Day 68 - Do Babies Dream of Baby Sheep

Do Babies Dream of Baby Sheep

You know how I said before that it was the waiting for the baby's arrival that was the hardest part?  Bollocks!  The waiting was the easy bit, as you can see from my new top three list of the hardest things about having a baby, ranked from hardest to easiest...

  1. The birth.  Horrific.  Brutal.  Savage.  Basically like a Saw movie.  (Shudders)
  2. Twenty four hours of a baby crying.  Oh!  My!  God!  Please sleep!
  3. Waiting for an overdue baby.

In fact, as unbearable as it seemed at the time, I actually miss the waiting part now!  I mean, we love our baby, we are over the moon, smitten, and very rarely think about selling her on eBay, but I live in a beautiful city, it’s thirty degrees outside and I don't have to go and sit in an office!  I miss being able to just take a stroll up to Buda Castle with my favourite wife, pop in to Pest for a bite to eat, or visit one of the city’s many bars or cafes for a sociable drink in the sun.

Maybe I’m just feeling a tad bitter due to the fact that Mila spent yesterday (which incidentally was our third wedding anniversary) screaming at the top of her tiny lungs.  FOR TWENTY FOUR FUCKING HOURS!  I think she’s maybe going through that phase.  You know the one.  The phase where the ONLY thing that will stop her crying is to be carried around by her Dad while he sings the entire back catalogue of The Crash Test Dummies to her.  The trickiest part of this is that I only know two of The Crash Test Dummies' songs.  These being ‘Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm’ and ‘Afternoons & Coffeespoons’, and out of these two songs I know a total of eight words from the lyrics, seven of which are in the titles.  So, our anniversary evening consisted of me, with wild, bloodshot eyes, wandering around the flat carrying a baby, guessing the entire back catalogue of The Crash Test Dummies.

“She’s asleep honey!  Why don’t you try and put her to bed?” my wife says.

I nod and then looking like a man carrying his life's work through a field of land mines, I carefully put my sleeping child to bed.  Her peaceful, sleeping head touches the mattress.  Her eyes shoot open.  She glares at me and she is frantic.  She screams.  I pick her up.

“Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, Mmm.”

Repeat until my eyeballs bleed, while I consider if there's any feasible way to put our baby back inside my wife.

One other thing that hopefully one of you experienced parents out there can help shed some light on.  Why is it that a baby will sleep through storms, sirens, violent political demonstrations etc, but if you step on to a squeaky floorboard, wide awake!  Why!?  What is this witchcraft, this black magic!  A few days ago we went for a walk with Mila in her buggy.  It was some kind of National Hungary Day so there were celebrations all over the city.  We’d just managed to get Mila to sleep by walking vigorously over a cobbled street, when up ahead we spot something that terrifies us.  A parade of Hungarian bagpipe players coming our way!  About fifty of them, all gleefully blowing in to their abhorrent sacks!  We've no idea what Hungarians are doing playing the bagpipes, but naturally, we are horrified.  We look for an escape route, but it’s no use.  We are surrounded.  So, with darkness in our hearts we prepare to walk in to the bagpipe playing hell.  And...our ridiculous little human didn’t so much as raise an eyelid!  Astonishing sleeping skills!  We are delighted!  We get home, she seems to be in a coma, we put her to bed, step on a floorboard that had just at this moment decided to become squeaky.  Eyes shoot open.  Scream.  We are broken.

“You know our baby?” I ask the wife.

“I know her.” she replies.

“Well, I think she might be a bit of a dick.”

“Don’t say that honey!”

“I’m sorry, but she has screamed for the entirety of our wedding anniversary, only stopping if I sing early 90's, obscure, Canadian rock to her!  Not only that, but she seems to time her number two’s for when it’s my turn to change her nappy!  You get a little splash of fragrant baby wee, I get stinking baby jalfrezi!  What the hell is that about!?  Like I said, I think she might be a bit of a dick.”

“She’s not a dick.  She doesn’t understand what’s going on.  She’s going through something called a leap.  She’s just scared.”

“Well, I hope you’re right!  She better be scared shitless!”

When we do finally manage to get Mila to sleep I often find myself staring at her, wondering what the devil she’s dreaming about.  I mean, what does she know?  She knows the inside of my wife’s uterus, she knows that breasts are delicious, and she knows a tiny section of Budapest.  She'd be a rubbish 'phone a friend' on Who Wants to be A Millionaire.  She probably doesn’t even realise that the United Kingdom recently had a referendum about whether or not to stay in the European Union!  Or maybe I’m wrong and she knows a lot more than she’s giving away.  Maybe she has been quietly absorbing the world around her over the last nine months from inside my wife.  

What the hell is going on inside that tiny head?

What the hell is going on inside that tiny head?

 Maybe her dreams are vivid and wild.  Maybe they go a little something like this…

Flying over the Alps like a fleshy, baby, Ryanair jet

Flying over the Alps like a fleshy, baby, Ryanair jet

The Even Littler Mermaid (Eat your heart out Nirvana Nevermind cover)

The Even Littler Mermaid (Eat your heart out Nirvana Nevermind cover)

Dancing with pink dancing sheep on the beaches of Kokomo (obviously)

Dancing with pink dancing sheep on the beaches of Kokomo (obviously)

Riding her stuffed dog Rufus through the wild jungles of Mexico

Riding her stuffed dog Rufus through the wild jungles of Mexico

Travelling across a river with her friendly, stuffed, pink, giraffe, Juan Sebastian.

Travelling across a river with her friendly, stuffed, pink, giraffe, Juan Sebastian.

Or maybe she’s just dreaming about my wife’s breasts. 

Day 54 - Escape From Baby Alcatraz

Escape From Baby Alcatraz

Not enjoying the handball coverage

Not enjoying the handball coverage

I’m sitting at home watching Tunisia play Qatar at handball whilst a baby who can’t pooh screams in my ear.  There’s been a lot of obscure Olympic sports watched to the soundtrack of horribly shrill, poohless baby shrieking over the last few days.  Judo, fencing, table tennis, canoe slalom, trampolining, something called radial sailing.  I am well and truly living the fatherhood/Hungarian Olympic coverage dream.  Maybe this is what heaven is like.  I’m hoping things will change moving forward, but week one of parenthood has been like when the mafia ‘go to the mattresses’ during times of gang warfare.  We’ve hardly left the house all week for fear of detonating an explodable baby bomb.

As it stands, if Mila is conscious, the only way to stop her screaming is to stuff a nipple in her mouth.  Sadly, mine appear to be dormant, so it’s my good lady wife who has to be constantly on standby with an emergency nipple bung.  But then, when the time comes to remove the nipple from our human cub's mouth, it’s like removing a pin from a WWII hand grenade that you’ve found in your back garden.  You don’t know if the hand grenade is live or not, but if it is live, you can be sure that it will take your face clean off and leave everyone around splintered with shrapnel.

This nipple stuffing technique does seem to be foolproof, but it’s pretty tough for my wife.

“I’m like an industrial cow!”  she says.  “I’m just here for milking.  I don’t think she’s even seen my face!  All she’s interested in are my tits!”  

Maybe Mila takes after her father.

“Ahh.” I reply in my most soothing voice.  “You’re not an industrial cow honey.  More like a lovely organic cow that has been well looked after by a loving farmer.”

I think for a second, before continuing with my inspirational pep talk.

“I actually like to think of you more as her favourite restaurant.  And not just any restaurant!  You’re not a Wimpy for example.  If anything you’re like a lovely little, local, healthy restaurant.  You’re probably even gluten free!”  

A thought hits me.  I haven’t seen a Wimpy for about twenty years.  I’m now worried that they may have gone the same way as the dodo, the woolly mammoth or C&A.

“But I can’t keep up with the demand!” my wife moans, close to tears as she nurses her savaged nipples.

But it’s no use, I’m not listening.  My mind is focusing on the potential extinction of Wimpy restaurants.

At that moment we are interrupted by the midwife knocking on our front door.  It’s now been six days since Mila last poohed, so we just want to check that everything is in working order.  The midwife enters, prods her little belly, pushes her legs up by her head and then puts a thermometer up her rectum.  Once she’s finished fooling around we show her to our baby.

“I think she seems fine” the midwife tells us.  “It’s often the case that newborns don’t poop much for the first week or two of their lives if they’re being breast fed.  Keep doing bicycle exercises with her little legs, massage her belly and before you’ll know it, you will have more poop than you can handle.”  The midwife then leaves, leaving us once again, with our poohless child.

“Maybe she’ll never pooh” I say.  “Maybe she's like The X-Men!  Maybe the next evolution of the human race will be a pooh-free human!  Imagine how freaked out Andrex would be!  The shit would well and truly hit the fan in their HQ, perhaps for the last time!” 

Thanks to Angelcare I can Dad without missing a second of my beloved trampolining qualifiers

Thanks to Angelcare I can Dad without missing a second of my beloved trampolining qualifiers

On Mila’s eighth day on Earth we decide to put our pooh concerns behind us, and prepare to face our fears by leaving our safe haven.  She wakes up at midday.  My wife pacifies her with a nipple.  Half an hour later she slowly removes the nipple.  Huzzah!  This grenade is not live!  We carefully place our cute little sleeping daughter in to her buggy, pop our flip-flops on and leave the flat.  Twenty metres later, Mila wakes up.  She apparently doesn’t appreciate the fact that we didn’t get her sign off for our expedition.  She screams.  Our neighbours no doubt assume that I am butchering a piglet.  We return home.

We are prisoners to our nipple obsessed little warden.   We are in Baby Alcatraz.  But never mind.  At least we can now watch India play Lithuania at badminton.

Later that evening, whilst I am helping Mila do her bicycle exercises, something shifts and things start to move.  It happens whilst I am looking directly in to the eye of the storm.  I don't think I will ever be clean again.

Hoping that Mila won't look behind our Raquel Welch poster

Hoping that Mila won't look behind our Raquel Welch poster