As part of their Christmas presents last year, Terry and I gave each of my parents a memory journal, to fill in for Max. (Mum and dad, if you’re reading this, consider yourselves prompted to maybe get on with that, ‘kay?)
Now, I don’t think the one I’ve linked to is the exact style I bought, but the idea was the same: it’s essentially a blank journal, filled with prompts encouraging the recipient to tell their story, and write down their memories. These were books designed for grandparents to fill in for their grandchildren, so they’re filled with questions about how they found out the new baby was on the way, what they thought when they saw him for the first time, etc. It’s such a simple idea, but it’s one I think will be absolutely priceless to him when he’s older, because, the fact is, so much is forgotten, isn’t it? And once those memories are gone, you can never get them back.
I know, for instance, that Max won’t remember anything at all about his first few years on this planet, and that these days that are so vivid and intense for us, will just be parts of his distant past, not even ranking as memories for him. That, of course, makes Terry and I the guardians of Max’s early memories, and, as anyone who’s been reading this blog for a while will know, this is a duty I take very seriously. With that thought in mind, a few weeks ago, Terry suggested I start a regular post series called ‘Memories for Max’, in which I could write down some of the random stories from our day to day lives, that I hope will be just as precious to him one day as those memory journals will. Or, you know, maybe NOT: because, true to form, I’m kicking this series off with a story I’m not sure any of us will actually WANT to remember. Apologies in advance…
This week your big cousin, George, is home from Kent for a few days, so, on Sunday afternoon, we met up with him and the rest of the family for lunch. We were in a garden centre, obviously, because, Max, we spend a lot of time in garden centres these days. I feel like I want to add the words, “And when you have children of your own, you’ll understand why!” at this point, but then I’d have to hate myself as much as I hate the rest of the ‘Just You Wait!’ brigade, and I really don’t want to have to hate myself, so let’s just say we were having lunch in a garden centre, and leave it at that.
So! We’d finished lunch, and were all sitting chatting. You were standing on a chair between me and your Auntie Lila, and, as is your way, you were laughing and bouncing and generally having the time of your life, holding onto Auntie Lila’s hands, and spinning around on the spot. As I sat there watching you, though, I happened to glance down, and that’s when I saw it.
On your foot.
Or so I thought.
“That’s strange,” I said to Lila, grabbing a tissue to wipe it off. “There must have been mud on this seat, imagine!”
But that was no “mud,” Max: a fact that immediately became apparent when, as soon as I finished wiping it up, I glanced down and saw some more.
Well, I wiped THAT “mud” up too, and when it was ALSO instantly replaced with more, I started to get suspicious.
“Terry, can you give me a hand, please?” I asked your daddy, picking you up and sniffing experimentally at your butt, in a manner that I’m sure will be familiar to most parents, gross thought it may be. “I think Max has poop on his foot?”
“POOP?” asked daddy, surprised,
“POOP,” I confirmed grimly. “On his foot. So, foot poop, basically.”
Terry took you from me and had a look. Sure enough, there was more poop, and…
“It’s coming down the leg of his trousers!” said daddy, horrified.
And, yes, Max: yes it was.
“Quick!” said daddy. “Let’s get him to the bathroom! Thank God you always put a change of clothes in his changing bag!”
But Max, I had not put a change of clothes in your changing bag that morning.
In fact, I hadn’t put a change of clothes in your changing bag for WEEKS. Because, honestly? You hadn’t needed them. And, yes, OK, I guess I should’ve known that the second I stopped packing extra clothes would be the exact second we’d need them, but, well, I’m new at this parenting business, and I guess I messed up. Not as much as YOU did, though, because, Max, when we got you into the baby change room and started to peel off the adorable little outfit I’d carefully dressed you in that morning, it was honestly like you’d exploded in it.
We call it a ‘Poopnami’ when something like this happens. It’s like, a tsunami, but… well, POOP.
Under normal circumstances, you’d have gone straight into the bath, obviously. These, however, were not normal circumstances. Because, did I mention we were in a garden centre? One far, far away from any baby shops? Because that’s where we were: and now we had a naked, poop-covered baby, and an outfit that we couldn’t possibly put back on him.
What to do?
Well, the first thing we had to do, of course, was try to clean you up. As luck would have it (And I’d like to be able to say this was good planning on my part, but it really was just sheer luck…), I might have forgotten to bring a change of clothes for you, but I HAD remembered the huge, disposable washcloths your gran bought months ago, for just such an eventuality. So I got to work on washing you down, while daddy headed out into the store in search of baby clothes.
In retrospect, I REALLY wish we’d done this the other way around, and I’d been the one to go shopping, while daddy wiped up the poop. But, I’ll say it one last time: WE WERE IN A GARDEN CENTRE. I was 100% sure they would not sell baby clothes, and I didn’t want to be the one to have to tell your dad we were going to have to take you home wrapped up in shopping bags or similar, so I decided to let him find that out for himself, while I tried to clean you up.
As it turns out, though, that really is one hell of a garden centre, because, not ten minutes later, there was a knock on the door of the changing room, and there was daddy, carrying this little outfit:
It was slightly too big for you, and not very well made. Your hands immediately disappeared inside the sleeves, and, by the time we got you back to the table, the side buttons had popped open, and one of the straps was falling off. But it was clean, and it was dry, and – unlike that super-cute little outfit of yours, which was now double-bagged for hygiene reasons, inside the changing bag – it was NOT coated in poop.
I think we have to call that a win.