This is a (useless) skill that few will ever be better at. Essentially, I’m a king at shoving (yes, that’s the right word) stuff into the cavity beneath the seat in my son’s pram. I’m all about finding the right-sized gap in this under-pram game and plugging it with tins of beans, baguettes, and shampoo.
If you were so inclined, you could spend the entire 9 months between conception and birth reading book after book, each of which ‘guarantees’ to give you the authoritative and complete lowdown on the whole baby ‘experience’.
They are, I am sure, a positive thing – I’m not a fan of these manuals myself, but that’s just personal preference; I think there’s a point where preparation can teeter into obsession. That said, there’s a topic that none of these baby books devotes so much as a word to:
THE POO FACE
Suddenly a cry rings out, causing a shudder of tiredness to run up my spine and take root in the bags under my eyes. Next, probably by magic, your feet find the floor and you question y our existence. The door opens and a night light illuminates the face of a crying toddler, you smile broadly – pushing back your own desire to cry. Then, tot in arms, you collapse into the chair and break into a droning “Incy Wincy Spider…” as you look at the clock. It’s 3 am. But the tot doesn’t care about the time. Why? You get your answer as the full flavour of the nappy he’s just filled wafts towards you. Happy Birthday.
Our designated role models wantonly display either ignorance of or ambivalence to the didactic element of their elevated status. They willingly take the benefits that society is happy to pile upon them, yet few, it would seem, ever give proper consideration to the multitude of responsibilities they have to those who model overtly themselves upon them. Perhaps it’s unfair to expect so much from these Alpha males. Introspection is not a trait usually associated with this personality type. Essentially, masculinity in our society is in crisis because we’ve asked our young to emulate those who consistently exhibit some of the gender’s worst traits.
It had been a few minutes, three maybe. I looked at him, as encouragingly as I could, and spoke.
“OK, that’s good. It’s easy, just one, two, three and push.”
I’d tried to hide any stress (rapidly growing within me) from my voice.
My son looked back at me, seemingly unconvinced.
“We can have a cuddle when you come down the slide.”
“Just go down!” chimed in a boy, about twice the age of my son – part of the growing queue for the slide forming behind my little one.
“He’ll go when he’s ready,” I said, once again trying to appear calm – reminding myself that empathy isn’t a skill kids are born with. “Just one, two, three and push!”
It was going to be a long day.