SOS: 'Double code brown'
I hope you're not eating your breakfast right now, writes Mark Hotton in And Baby Makes Four.
Because the subject matter this week isn't really appropriate material to read during a meal. But it's worth covering, because dealing with it takes up a considerable amount of time.
I had to use a pair of scissors on my daughter this week. Not to cut her hair - she's only got a bit of fuzz . . . just like her dad.
Nope, this was to cut her clothes off. Sounds extreme doesn't it?
But, if you'd seen what we had to deal with, you, too, would have been the first into the kitchen drawer, digging out the sharpest pair you could find.
Neither of us heard the mess arrive in her nappy, and I can't even remember who found her, but it was quickly apparent this was a double code brown. As in, it would take two of us to clean her up. For some reason - and any explanations gratefully received - my daughter has developed the ability to crap herself in the most disgusting way. I'm sure Zach was never as bad as this.
I've lost track of the times I've had to peel her out of her clothes, carefully trying not spread it anywhere else, while trying to placate her so she doesn't do her peacock-with-a-hedge trimmer impersonation. Only to find it's up her front and her back. And everywhere in between.
But this most recent double code brown was by far the worst I'd seen in her short three months. It was up as far as her chest on both sides, as though she was an icecream derby, and had soaked through at least three layers.
We managed to get a couple of layers off without spreading things too far - this is while she's dangling in a plastic bag in the bathroom - but the bottom layer one-piece was too far gone. We were able to get the nappy off so it dropped straight into the bag, but there was no way we could have got the onesie off without it touching her face. And while we're always on the lookout for embarrassing 21st photographs - come on, which parents aren't? - it was felt that this was not one of them.
So, in the interests of her dignity and our sanity, the scissors were employed carefully to cut through the shoulders so it too could drop into the plastic bag. Then it was time for a quick shower to get her sorted.
Now I love my daughter, dearly - even more now that she's smiling when I talk to her and we're close to getting a giggle out of her - but she's feral.
I'm adamant that we've had more double code browns with her already than we've ever had with the boy. The problem is, of course, that she'll go a few days and then it's like taking a cork out of a shaken bottle of fizz.
How it defies gravity and gets everywhere is beyond me. Something that should go down, shouldn't go up the back and front at the same time. It's just not right.
I'm just grateful that both of us were there that day, to share that special moment. Because while it might be a challenge to change her nappy when something like this happens, it's worse when you're flying solo and you get a double code brown. Now that's just not fun.
» Mark Hotton is a journalist who can see the benefit of having a third or fourth hand when changing his daughter's nappy.
The Southland Times