Ever since our daughter was born 18 months ago via a caesarean section I became this modern, 21st century, hands-on dad you see today. ‘What does that involve then, Andy’? I hear you ask. It involves something my 20th century dad got away with during his father career — changing nappies.
Nothing prepared me for THAT first nappy change. Nothing. Utter carnage.
As mentioned, our daughter was delivered via a C-section, so my wife was unfortunately MIA (Missing in Action) for the first two weeks due to recovery and pain. Up stepped daddy. Oh yes. After a few whirlwind and immensely joyous hours of holding, kissing and watching my daughter, I suddenly realised that she was probably due to have her first nappy change on planet earth. Running parallel to that I immediately became conscious to the fact I was the only person from myself and my wife who was capable of changing the nappy. I was thrown in to fatherhood like a caveman living in 2014. I was about to crash back down to Earth.
I work with children and young people for a living, but changing your baby’s first ever nappy is a completely different ball game – kind of like jumping from playing in a Champions League Final inside a world class arena; draped in a dazzling early Spring sunset; in front of a worldwide audience of millions, to playing for a pub team on a freezing cold Sunday morning on a mud heap, in front of a village audience of three.
I un-fastened/unstrapped (is that the correct term?) the nappy. Just as gravity took hold of the nappy, I was greeted by what can only be described as an extinction event.
The dad readers amongst you will probably remember that the first poo is a black, thick residue resembling marmite. It was an oil spill. An oil spill threatening the entire northern hemisphere.
I was half tempted to see whether there were any flapping fish knocking about. There weren’t.
Was my baby real? Was she a leaking robot machine?
Was this how the ancient city of Pompeii succumbed to utter annihilation? Panic. I was aware the first poo was not proper poo, but what my eyes were witnessing caught me totally off guard. I was almost swept away, buried forever.
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I then remembered the title of a programme on tele– I had never watched it before but for some reason I remembered the title – Call The Midwife. I Called The Midwife.
She gave me a fast-tracked degree in nappy changing. I was terrified. Shocked at the scene of utter devastation caused by the volcanic lava. My mental clip board taking notes of the lecture: Plenty of wipes, hold up baby’s legs with left hand, clean away the oil with right hand, fold up old nappy with right hand, place old nappy in bag with right hand, and replace with new nappy using right hand.
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The next oil spill occurred a few hours later and, thankfully, I coped really well – doing exactly as I was taught during my nappy induction training.
I have been fine ever since.