“I wish I’d gone around licking cats’ bums before we conceived,” she said in earnest the other day.
We were talking toxoplasmosis, a rare parasitic disease that pregnant women can transmit to their unborn babies with dire consequences.
You can get it from eating raw meat or gardening but as my wife does not hunt her own food and seems to think that our grass cuts itself every fortnight for all the credit I get for keeping the back lawn tidy, it’s catching toxoplasmosis from cat poop that is causing us grief.
Now I think the odds of catching it from emptying a cat’s litter tray, the most “common” cause, are pretty remote.
Cats only get it once in their life, so there aren’t that many infected cats about, and even if they do have it the poop has to be between two and six days old when you touch it. From there it has to find its way into your digestive system so at a guess I’d say a bookmaker would give you odds of 100,000 to one of it happening.
But when you’re pregnant it doesn’t matter what the odds are, you only concentrate on the number “one.”
If it can happen to somebody, you have a dread fear your baby is going to be the one.
Just like cats, humans gain immunity to toxoplasmosis once they’ve had it and it’s only a problem if you’re pregnant, hence why my wife allowed herself to ponder whether licking cats’ bums to infect herself was a good idea before she came off the pill.
When our son or daughter comes of an age to read this blog I hope they appreciate what gibbering wrecks they turned their parents into even before they arrived on the scene.
We haven’t even got a cat!
To escape being oppressed by germs any further we ventured outside to pay the first of what I’m sure will be many visits to Mothercare at the weekend to look at prams and pushchairs.
What with them having four wheels, different attachments and things that fold up and down, this expedition appealed to my sense of manliness and I was keen to lend my know-how.
But as I didn’t even realise that prams have proper rubber tyres these days I’m sure the assistant wasn’t fearing a Claude Littner-like grilling on the usability of Silver Cross over Baby Jogger.
Indeed such were the mechanical functions on some of the prams we looked at I thought they might come with one-year’s free membership to the AA included in the price. But as I soon found very little actually did come with the price.
I did my best to look like I was serving a purpose, occasionally pushing a pram back and forth in the showroom to check all the wheels went round OK, but that was about the extent of my expertise.
So we just did what we always do when making a major purchase. We walked around the shop looking at three or four different makes in the mid-range price bracket, my wife said she liked one based purely on colour and I tried to sound knowledgeable by repeating something about it I’d just read off the ticket.
We then walked away hurriedly as soon as an assistant came to help and found the most expensive one in the shop and my wife said she wanted that one.
So there I was hurriedly googling “Bugaboo Chameleon” hoping to find one negative review and wriggling out of paying £950 for something I’m never going to get to sit in.
And there it was, four “five-star” reviews down. “This pram really is the cat’s whiskers,” gushed KneeDeepInNappies84.
“We can’t have this one,” I told my crestfallen wife. “It might be carrying toxoplasmosis.”