Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

The helpless blog of a first time dad: I’m yet to learn the doo-doos and don’ts of talking about Sophia

Baby Sophia
Baby Sophia

ONE of the joys of being an otherwise helpless dad-to-be is the decorating of the nursery.

It was one of the few occasions during the nine months of my wife’s pregnancy where I didn’t feel I was being an annoyance to her.

When you’re patting your partner on the back while she’s being sick down the loo, you know in your heart of hearts that there’s a limit to your usefulness. I hated myself for saying such things as “it will all be worth it in the end” and “it’s all a good sign that the hormones are kicking in,” so goodness knows what Hannah thought of me.

But lock yourself away in a room with 18 pieces of wood and an Allen key and emerge six and a half hours later having put together a cot bed and you feel a renewed sense of self-worth. “I am man, I build bed” kind of thing.

I’m no DIY expert, as the three times put together, twice taken apart cot will allude to, but I was determined to decorate our baby’s nursery myself, even when my wife got a little bit ambitious and started talking about running a dado rail around the room.

My dad, who is a DIY expert, did his best to interfere but I insisted he just lend me his tools for the job. I wanted to do something for my child even if I made a minor hash of it.

Sophia contemplating her next move
Sophia contemplating her next move

When it came to the dado rail, I realised quite quickly I was going to make a major hash of it and ended up calling my dad and we made a minor hash of it together but my intentions were honourable. Everything else in the room I did paint or put together myself so I can blame my wife for getting too fancy with trying to capture an Edwardian look.

It made me feel good to have it all ready for Sophia’s birth but nine weeks into her life I’m starting to wish I hadn’t bothered.

If you’re four, five or six months pregnant and reading this, take my advice. In preparing for your baby’s arrival, take a room in your house that you really don’t mind smelling of poo, clear a space where you can change your baby’s nappy and leave it at that. He or she will do the rest.

In her short life so far Sophia has weed up the wall and projectile pooed on the carpet. And if you know how the Edwardians used to decorate their houses they tended to go for whites, creams and light greys, basically any colours that show up wee and poo stains.

Her inability to control her bowel movements give a new slant on the Edwardian belief that children should be “seen and not heard.” We can see bright yellow reminders of where Sophia has been all over her nursery room floor and I seem to spend as much time on my hands and knees with a Vanish bar and a bowl of water as I do playing with my daughter on one of her two play mats.

When I say she can’t control her bowel movements that may be doing her a disservice.

This is due to the fact that in recent weeks she has got into the habit of not wanting to spoil that nice white thing she’s has got taped around her undercarriage so she’ll only seep a tiny amount of urine to turn the colour line green or do an incredibly loud fart for someone so small.

She knows this will mean a trip to the changing unit in her nursery from where, free of the constrictions of a nappy, she’ll let loose her bowels and bladder. And then she’ll give you a cheeky grin because no matter how disgusted you are by poo, a baby’s smile will always get a smile back in return. And the conniving little genius has worked that out already.

At four in the morning the other day I was woken by a sound akin to a tree being felled. I then subsequently heard Hannah scream for assistance and was met with what seemed like a re-enactment of a Royal Artillery training exercise.

A smiling Sophia was being held up by her legs, seemingly to increase the distance at which she could fire out the previous evening’s intake of breast milk. It turned out she had already urinated and pooed on the changing mat (that was the sound I heard) and so she was being held up in the hope it wouldn’t run into her clothes. But once she starts pooing it’s a while before she stops, as anyone entering the room “down wind” finds to their cost.

Hannah actually took Sophia to the doctors after this incident because she didn’t think firing out poo to a distance of 1.28 metres was natural. Disgusting as it was to be in the firing line of, I couldn’t help feeling a tinge of pride afterwards that she’d pooed only four metres short of how far I was able to throw a shot put when I was at school.

But here’s the thing. I really didn’t want this blog post to be about baby poo.

I’ve been on the other end of it when parents with no self-censorship have spoken about little Johnny’s doo-doo and I don’t recall my internal monologue has never said “boy, what an interesting subject this is to discuss.” I have a friend who guided us through his son’s potty training on Facebook every step of the way – with photos!

I mean who in their right mind thinks of showing photographs of their child’s stools to anyone other than a paediatrician?

Her first cheeky grin. She's already learnt when best to use it.
Her first cheeky grin. She’s already learnt when best to use it.

I said long before Sophia was born I would not be one of those parents. A baby’s poo has no place in the public arena. But she’s not even ten weeks old and I’m already blogging about it because I now realise there’s nothing like baby poo for making you lose touch with what’s going on in the world…

After two months being elbows deep in it that is all I know now.

When I get home from work, the first thing Hannah tells me is how many pooey nappies there have been during the day, their consistency and colour. I then check the poo diary and moan at her that she hasn’t filled it in. If we want to broaden the subject out we’ll talk about nappy rash.

My evenings from there revolve around whether Sophia needs changing and whose turn is it. And the best feeling you get as a parent of a newborn, other than getting a smile, is managing a change without an incident. You feel like you’ve dodged a bullet, or something similar. And all this makes you incredibly boring.

I went to see my best mate last week. He’s single, no children, quite politically minded and loves football.

Since the last time I’d seen him we’d had the EU referendum, the Prime Minister had resigned, the Conservatives’ race to replace him had turned into an episode of Game of Thrones and yet they still ended up looking a more united party than the main opposition, whose stubborn leader not even Vanish Extra would shift. And England had lost a football match to Iceland.

And yet all I could think to say to him was that Sophia’s poo had started to smell of vinegar.

I could see his eyes glaze over and I knew instinctively what he was thinking in his head.

And at that moment I slid my phone with the photos of her latest discharge back into my pocket. Another time, perhaps.


The helpless blog of a first time dad: Hectic paternity leave was no holiday

The helpless blog of a first time dad: Sophia’s homecoming pulled the rug from under us

Read all posts from the blog – click here