Escape From Baby Alcatraz
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!”
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.