Let me set the scene. Mrs C and I were preparing to give our two children a bath.
Wilf sits in his little seat at one end, Mary sits at the other, and then they generally spend 10 minutes attempting to tip at least 85 per cent of the water out of the bath and onto the bathroom floor.
But the other night Mary wanted me to go in the bath too.
She requests this occasionally, mainly because she wants to play shark rescue.
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It was quite cute I suppose being in the bath with my two young offspring as they played and gurgled happily, and I was even beginning to think I quite liked spending time with them when Mrs C wandered in and casually remarked, ‘what’s that on your shoulder?’
I angled my head and stared down at my glenohumeral joint (a term I’ve inserted to keep my medical readers happy).
It looked like a bit of dark-coloured fluff was stuck to my shoulder.
As you might expect, I briefly panicked thinking it might be human excrement – but then I realised it looked exactly like the sort of thing that sometimes comes out of the (plastic) squirty bath toys on account of the fact we’ve had them ages and forget/can’t be bothered to regularly clean them.
‘It’s that mouldy stuff that comes out of the squirty toys,’ I said.
‘Erm, I’m not sure it is,’ replied Mrs C. ‘It’s all over the bath’.
I looked down and saw, to my horror, that the water had turned a dark brown colour.
There was now a smell too, the quite unmistakable odour that hits you smack in the face when you change a freshly coated nappy.
‘Oh my god,’ I said, ‘it’s poo.’
Mrs C's reaction wasn't quite what I’d hoped for. She laughed.
‘Can you stop laughing and help?’ I barked.
She carried on laughing and didn’t help.
After I’d voiced the fact that Wilf had pooed, Mary started crying. I can’t blame her, bathing in Wilf’s waste product probably hadn’t been at the top of her wish-list at the start of the day.
And then, for reasons that until my dying day I will never fathom, she stood up and announced, ‘well if Wilf’s done a poo I’ll do one too’.
‘What?’ I cried, panicked, but reassured by the fact I was pretty sure she couldn’t just force one out on the spur of the moment.
She screwed her face tightly and turned a vivid red colour.
‘DON’T’, I bellowed with as much force and venom as I’ve ever used in her three short years on this planet.
She didn’t even so much as acknowledge me, then proceeded to not only open her bowels in quite substantial fashion but also to urinate in the bath too.
I sat there, mouth hanging open, trying hard not to gag.
I was now sitting in a bath full of urine and two different types of poo.
While I sat motionless, Mrs C was almost horizontal on the floor crying with laughter.
I can’t print the exact words I uttered at this point. My wife, after wiping tears from her eyes and taking several photographs, belatedly took Wilf from me.
I then began an extensive clean-up operation, which involved showering both children, showering myself – I spent 25 minutes doing this, including washing my hair four times, just to make sure every trace of anything foul was destroyed – and then bleaching and cleaning the bath and all the toys in it.
The whole bath-time ended up taking almost three hours and the really annoying part was that both children were in a blissful sleep while I was still scrubbing a plastic dolphin with a cloth and some Dettol.
Parenthood. It’s absolutely wonderful.
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