NG has spurned nappies and potties. However, she still can’t recognise the ‘tingling in her front (or back) bottom’ before it’s too late, so we are, literally, treading carefully.
I heave the behemoth of a Pampers box through the door (thank you Amazon Prime) and am stopped two steps in by NG, who is wearing her singing dress.
“Mummy, what you do-hoo-hoo-ing?” she sings to the first line of Half a Pound of Tuppenny Rice.
“Bringing in the nappies,” I sing back.
“Can I use my scissors, please?” she trills, eyeing the Sellotape greedily.
“No-oh, you can’t,” I conclude. And because she doesn’t know there is another verse, I win.
For once, the unnecessary amount of packaging is a delight as the boxes become boats and the carpet the ocean. I scuttle back and forth, unloading size 2s and size 5s, punctuating my journeys with, “go on Daddy Rabbit, jump. You won’t drown,” and, “ooh, it’s getting a bit stormy,” and, “sometimes even baby crabs need to do a wee but they can go in the sea.”
NG stops playing.
“Mummy? I need to do a wee.”
My poker face is excellent. “OK, darling. Can you feel a tingle?”
“Great. Come on, let’s go to the bathroom. Baby rabbit, you can come too.” I reach out my hand.
“I don’t want to.”
“Are you sure? Shall we go and put you on the loo? Just in case?”
“Right. But remember, if you even just try and do a wee, you can still have a chocolate button.”
“Oh, yes. OK.”
NG gets settled just as the baby wakes up from his nap. I leave her playing Sarah and Duck on the ipad because the kite one is actually a bloody good game and go in to change NC’s nappy.
“Oh, my God,” I shout.
“What, Mummy?” calls NG from her throne.
There is blood in NC’s nappy. Not masses, but it’s there. His eyes goggle like snooker balls as he grins up at me, (I assume) blissfully unaware of the trauma between his legs. The poor boy has been in and out of hospital since he was born (reflux, UTI, ear infection) and I don’t relish another visit today. It is pouring with rain and The Clangers is about to start.
With all the confidence of a second-time mother (not much) I Google ‘blood in infant poo’. NC is breastfed only and it seems it could be a lot of things. None sound serious but I call the surgery and ask my GP to ring asap.
“Mah-mee, I fih-nihshed,” yells NG.
I fix a clean nappy onto NC, scoop him up and return to my daughter. There is no wee but amazingly, a poo sits solidly at the bottom of the loo. I politely decline NG’s high five until she has washed her hands.
“Can I have a chocolate button now?”
“Yes. Two. And so can I,” I say, pouring out many, many more of Montezuma’s finest milk variety. We all settle down to watch The Clangers and Peppa Pig and recover from an invigorating morning. I sit on the sofa with NG on the floor between my feet. I look sadly at the cardboard box boats in front of me – perhaps this is the last time the DPD driver will have to struggle up the path … maybe we are really making progress towards just having one child in nappies. I plonk NC on the boob and we both munch indulgently.
The phone rings.
“Dr Jesson, hello. Yes, blood. Yes, quite streaky and bright red … yes …” I listen and answer questions, wondering idly what Mummy Pig does for work.
“Right. OK. Cut out all dairy. Everything. Yes. Um, does that mean … chocolate too?” It does. I sigh and hang up. The Duchess of Cambridge wouldn’t cope, I think, what with her Dukan diet and everything. I feel a bit better about things.
“Mummy?” says NG quietly. “I’ve done a wee.”
She has. It is seeping into the carpet.
“But don’t worry, Mummy. ‘Cos baby crabs do do wees in the sea like me.”
“Yes,” I say. I think the cardboard boxes are safe for now.
“Can I have a chocolate button please?” I glance down at the packet resting on NC’s neck. There is one button left.
“OK,” I say, and pass it over.
KEY TO CHARACTERS
Characters are abbreviated as follows:
NW – not William (husband and father)
NG – not George (daughter, sister and two and a half year old)
NC – not Charlotte (son, brother and four month old)
NL – not Lupo (a Labrador)