Friday, April 08, 2005

Bringing Up Babies

One of the less delightful aspects of bringing up babies is just that: bringing up. It’s amazing how much they puke. The minute they start drinking milk, they’re loaded sick bombs, just waiting to go off.

There are times when you’re prepared. Burping after a feed is one of them. You expect a little milk to reappear. Your lap or shoulder is probably covered in a muslin, a towel or an ‘urp cloth’ and urp the little one obligingly does. The Victorians had a cute word for it: posset. Reminds me of dairies and clotted cream.

But you’re never prepared for the big one.

Remember the following formula:

man X holding (baby Y)


puke P
(over) clean shirt Z

It’s an incontrovertible law of nature.

Certain people seem to attract posset. Every single time my sister-in-law holds either of our babies, she gets covered in it. Maybe it’s the perfume she wears?

The most alarming sight of all is the projectile vomiting of a whole feed. Most likely when the baby has a cold, it’s a truly remarkable phenomenon. Like ‘old faithful’ in Yellowstone Park or wherever (forgive me, American friends) it begins with a distant rumbling which increases in volume to a roar and then suddenly there’s a geyser of yellow milk reaching a good foot vertically or, if the baby is at an angle to the floor, travelling two, three or four foot.

When we moved into our new house, two weeks before we had our first baby, it was fitted with plain cream carpets. Now in every room in the house somewhere on every single carpet there is a pattern a bit like a sunflower. They’re faded by scrubbing, of course, but the marks are still there months later, a little reminder of Jack and Nancy in full flow. What do they put into formula to make it yellow? I think I’d rather not know.

The milky days are on the way out now. Only yesterday Nancy dropped (by which I mean wasn’t interested in) her afternoon bottle. All too soon I will be able to walk around the house or down the street in a shirt which doesn’t have the tell-tale sign of fatherhood, a little splash of regurgitated milk on the over the left shoulder. A badge of honour? I like to think so.


Blogger That Dude said...

When my oldest was a baby he was sick and as I changed his diaper he just projectile shit on me. Now that is sick.

5:10 am  

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