Yes, yes, yes. I am indeed talking about poop again. But in my defence what you are about to read must go down as one of the most fraught, panic-stricken and downright bizarre 30 minutes of my life. Are you all sitting comfortably? Great, then I shall begin.
As with most of my anecdotes, everything kicks off with the bubster’s face turning red, his cheeks puffing out and his vocal cords screaming a sound similar to the one men make when they’re trying to bench press a really heavy weight. No doubt about it. It was poop o’clock. I looked down at my lunch, which was finished. Glanced at my wife’s, which had hardly been touched. And then did what any real man would do in the circumstances. I got all the stuff out of the bag, so it would be ready for when my wife finished. Only joking. I took a large gulp, grabbed the baby bag and set about freeing the now-coughing bubster from his high chair.
“I’ll come with you,” gallantly offered my wife. “Don’t be silly,” I replied. This was my first mistake, and I swiftly followed it up with another error. Namely: ignoring my wife’s idea of taking a peek inside our son’s trousers to see whether there had been a leak.
“It’ll be fine,” I smiled, walking out of the restaurant, across the corridor, down some steps and into the baby change. Pleasingly, it was not occupied and had two sinks. Less pleasingly, its two bins were overflowing, its floor was wet and it had run out of the paper you’re supposed to rip off and put over the nappy changing mat. This may come as a shock to non-parents, but sadly I’ve found it to be ‘situation normal’ when it comes to the baby change facilities in British airports.
Let the games begin…
Still, this it wouldn’t be an issue unless… oh no. Mayday, mayday. We have a blowout. Repeat: we have a blowout. His thighs had taken the brunt of the spillage, but a little had made its way down to his calf. A total change was required, which wouldn’t be a big deal if I had a baby who was happy to lie down and an abundance of baby wipes. I had neither of those things. And to make matters worse the baby changing mat was positioned directly opposite the hand dryer, so my butt kept setting it off. Again, not an issue if your kid is okay with loud bursts of air. But again, mine is not. Every time it came on he screamed like a banshee and tried every more fervently to get to his feet.
Following a joust with more excitement than most MMA fights, the positive headline was I managed to get all his clothes off his body and into a pile in the centre of the floor. The negative one was my son was naked, I’d got some poop on his changing mat and the baby wipe situation was worse than I’d first thought. There were just five in the packet, and at least two of these would need to be sacrificed in order to clean the changing mat.
Would Mary Poppins be able to clean up his backside and legs with just three wipes? Possibly. Would I? No chance. So I called my wife and she came to the rescue. Or that’s what I hoped would happen anyway. In actual fact, her phone rang in the corner of the room. Yup, she’d left it in the baby bag.
To the sinks…
After shouting an apology to the person who’d been trying to get in to change their kid for the past five minutes, I made my way to the sinks. Fortunately, our son quite likes running water, so was fairly placid during this portion of the drama. Unfortunately, the tap shut off the second my hand was removed from underneath it. This was disastrous for a couple of reasons. First, it meant my only option was to try and splash the poop off. Second, it meant it was very bad at washing the poop down the plughole.
What seemed like an hour later, the battle was over. The sinks might have been disgusting, but I could deal with that in due course. What mattered right now was that our baby was finally clean. Now all I needed to do was dry him, put his new set of clothes on, clean the sinks and stick the poopy nappy and ruined clothing in the bin.
Phase one of the final clean up involved drying the little man off. I went to hold him under the hand dryer and… remembered he was scared of it. No worries. I leaned over to rip some paper off the dispenser and… remembered that it had run out. Houston, we had a problem that – parenting hack, ahoy – I solved in what I still believe to be an ingenious manner. I dabbed him dry with two spare nappies from his changing bag.
One final twist
A minute later he was dressed, and immediately after this my wife knocked on the door and asked if “everything was okay”. “Not really,” I replied, passing bubby and his bag over and shaking my head. I went back in, surveyed the devastation and began cleaning the sinks. Around 15 seconds later, the door opened. It was a mother with a very small baby. “Really sorry, I’ll be done in a minute,” I apologised, expecting her to turn back. This did not happen. Instead, she smiled, stepped over the poopy clothes and nappy, sat down, exposed her breast and began feeding her child. Without wanting to get into a big debate about the right to breastfeed in public/share your breastfeeding shots on social media, this is weird, right? I mean, she had no idea who I was and didn’t cover her modesty with a scarf or anything.
Strange or not, it was happening. Me in a small, smelly room washing poop off two sinks, while a random mother tops up her child’s milk levels less than a metre away. Worse still, the poop wasn’t coming off without a fight. In a bid to alleviate the awkwardness, I attempted to start a conversation. It turned out she was a married mum-of-one who was on her way to Africa for a conference on diabetes. I’ve made that up. She said nothing. NOTHING! This shun and the subsequent silence ramped up my discomfort levels, prompting me to do what I always do at times of extreme nervousness. I began singing. Yes, really. After two choruses of Selena Gomez’s I Can’t Keep My Hands To Myself (yes, really), the situation was officially excruciating. Happily, the sink was clean and end was in sight. All that was left to do was pick up the dirty clothes and soiled nappy and force them into the overflowing bin, which was directly behind the breastfeeding mum’s right shoulder. Did I succeed? You bet I did. I shoved the poopy stuff in as far as I could, washed my hands and wrists, walked out, slumped down beside my wife and child, and downed the strongest drink on the menu in the shortest time I could manage.