Aunty Rachel likes riding bikes. She and Pops ride their bikes all over the place, doing crazy long distances at stupid o'clock in the morning. They just bought new racing road bikes. Last weekend Aunty Rachel rode hers into the back of a parked car and went straight through its back windscreen. Very luckily she was wearing a helmet and cycling goggles. According to those in the know this type of accident happens a lot. Poor Aunty Rach is a bit battered and bruised - she has stitches in her chin and right eyebrow, a graze on her nose, cuts on her forehead, a bruised arm and one hell of a headache. She is not a happy Aunty. So on Tuesday Rufus and I went to cheer her up.
He announced his arrival by presenting her with a poo that had been another six days in the making(!) - she thought it was hilarious. Then we went for a walk. I love this time of year - cool and crisp and sunny, hedgerows and trees full of things to pick. If you're clever you never go anywhere without a bag. With Master Jones hitched up in his sling we found ourselves in a thicket of trees, we wound through the tiny paths trying to stop his legs from being stung by stingers or snagged by brambles - difficult when he won't stop waving them around with excitement - he does love a good tree.
Then lo and behold the path opened out into a grassy little orchard. The trees were literally dripping with apples and plums. Over ripe fruits littered the ground giving off that lovely heady boozy smell a mixture of damp grass and fruit sugars fermenting. We assessed the situation - the grass is very over grown, there's an abandoned tractor in the corner, there's an enormous amount of fruit going to waste. It's clearly not public countryside - but at the same time it doesn't appear to be a money making orchard. Surely the crime is not in filling a Tesco bag with Damsons and a rucksac with apples? No the true crime is allowing all that glorious fruit go to waste.
Despite this judgement we get to picking tentatively, talking in whispers and fearing discovery. I pick with one hand, all the while trying to keep a very excited 11 week old baby quiet. I will him not to grizzle and draw attention to us. I have visions of trying to run from a farmer wielding a shot gun and a grumpy old sheepdog without falling over and crushing Rufus in the process. Luckily he decides that now would be a good time for a nap. Or perhaps he realises that some sort of minor crime is being committed and that if he's asleep he can plead innocence in the dock and get off as a mere accessory.
We stagger home under the weight of the "borrowed" fruit and decide that if we're caught we'll offer to make them a pie or a jar of jam. I used my spoils to make a damson crumble the next day. I proudly serve it to Mr Jones and then watch as he winces at the first spoonful. I taste mine - I didn't put enough sugar in the fruit - it's the kind of sharp that makes your jaw ache and your bum clench. I battle on through with the help of custard and a bit more sugar - Mr Jones eats the oaty crumbly topping and leaves the fruit. Rubbish.
In other news this week - Rufus has done a bit more rolling, has improved his sleep pattern to feeding at 1pm ish and then again at about 5.30/6am - hurrah (if only he didn't keep rousing himself at 11.30pm and 4am too - but beggars can't be choosers - we're getting there). Oh and we went to Baby Beans - which involves a lot of very twee singing and dancing that is soooooo not me. Rufus kept looking at me with one eyebrow raised as I sung silly songs to him and made him dance - "Mummy - what on earth are you doing?". Then he was sick and halfway through - despite the noise of rattles, 11 other babies, their singing mums and a very smiley instructor chirping away - he fell into a deep sleep - as if to say - "hmmmm not sure this is really for me." Bless him - we'll try again next week.
Technical glitch resolved - however the little man is now a fan of waving his arms about so getting good pics is very tricky!
When you have a baby you suddenly become obsessed with poos (well to be honest I've always been a bit obsessed with poos - I love a good chat about bowel habits - so if you think toilet humour is quite foul and get a bit squeamish around all things gut orientated it's perhaps best if you move along now to another blog - perhaps one that talks about food or other frivolities - this post will be all about poo).
Babies poo a lot - at least in the beginning - after practically every feed they present you with a full nappy. It becomes a bit tiresome after a while, although I still delight in the noise of it all, it makes me giggle. However during the earlier part of this week Master Jones seemed to have had enough of pooing. He's gone one or two or occassionally three days without one in the past but this week we got to four and then five.
It became the topic of every conversation. There were texts and emails being fired across the country enquiring after the elusive poo. The styles varied from the inquisitive - "Any poo yet?", the slightly coy (probably from someone who isn't really into toilet humour but feels they must be polite and enquire) "has he been?, to the slightly rude "Hey, is your baby still full of S*&t?" and on day six - simply - "poo?"
Yes day six! On day five I called the health visitor. "Erm it's about Rufus - you see he hasn't done a poo for five days now, he's a bit grumpy, should I be doing something."
"Right dear," says she in a slightly -'oh another neurotic first time mum' tone of voice. "Are you breast feeding? They can go up to two weeks without doing one."
"Two weeks!!!! He'll explode."
"Just feed him for England, massage his tummy when he's calm, give him warm baths to help him relax and keep him upright in a sling close to you. If he still hasn't gone after seven days take him to the doctors."
So I duly started feeding him every two hours. I tried massaging his tummy, he was not amused. He grizzled through his baths and was generally a very grumpy little man. So focused had I become on the poo that I even found myself talking to his tummy post feed asking Mr Poo to come on out and see us! Nothing seemed to work. I was beginning to wonder where exactly on earth six days worth of poo was residing in such a small being when it happened.....
I gave up feeding for England and went back to our three hourly routine. He obviously felt like he was being starved and settled in for a marathon mid-morning snack. Then I got that unmistakable waft of dirty nappy. My sister says they smell like ham, but to me they smell like a microwave two days after you've made yourself some of that delicious buttery popcorn. A kind of rancid, sweet, buttery stench that lingers.
Master Jones is the king of the stealth poo - they creep up on you unannounced and assault your nostrils. This one could offend my nose all it liked - I've never been so happy about a poo in my life. I danced a little jig of glee up the stairs.
I opened the nappy and couldn't help but feel disappointed - such as small amount of poo for such a long time. My dismay didn't last for long. All of a sudden there was poo oozing out everywhere. I tried to contain it in the nappy but it couldn't take it, this was the poo to top all poos.
The clean up operation was immense and involved half a pack of wet wipes, a quarter of a box of tissues, a towel and a bin liner. It was really a two man job. My hands were covered, Rufus seemed determined to dunk his feet in the carnage and threatened to leave poo prints on my top. But by some miracle I managed to keep both of our outfits clean - his because it was up around his neck - and mine because I was doing all of this with my body on the opposite side of the room to my arms!
Clean nappy on, I got him dressed again and popped him under his mobile to recover with a good kick. I dealt with the fall out, washed my hands and went to sit down to watch him giggle at Malcolm - the pink monkey with the black and white striped legs. But there it was again - that popcorn smell. I unpoppered his trouser leg and peeked into his nappy - more poo. This time the whole thing was full to bursting and I'd only just caught it in time. It kept on coming - I gave up with the wipes and fully sacrificed the towel that had taken a hit in the last onslaught. I waited a full five minutes, holding his feet in the air to see if there was anymore to come before I finally got him clean.
There was a time in my life when I really wouldn't have found it acceptable to be covered in someone elses poo. But not anymore. My jolly little baby was back and I'd spend everyday covered in poo for his smiles. I wonder how long it'll be before we get the next one?
PS - technical hitch still in full swing - pics to come soon.
Mrs Jones is a far from yummy mummy with a penchant for M&S fudge bars and a mojito on a Friday night. She became Mrs Jones in 2009 and a mummy in 2010. In 2011 she is attempting to remember her own name and not put washing powder in the dishwasher....