Causing a stink

Causing a stink

‘Oh, brother!’

I’VE GOT no sense of smell and it’s playing havoc with everyday parenting.

I had one as a child because I can remember walking past the back of Spark’s Bakery on the way to school every day and lifting my nose in salutation like a Bisto kid.

At some point in my young adult life, my olfactory talents began to fade. I was tested for allergies, tried various nasal sprays, but to no avail. When I first met the Duchess more than a decade ago, I would still occasionally detect certain foods or her perfume but even such intermittent aromas are now gone.

The loss can be devastating for the sweet harmony of our household – and the rear skin of Little Buddha. The other night, the Duchess returned home in the early hours from a night shift to find our daughter snuggled up to me in our bed. It should have been a lovely scene but the Duchess could smell her from the hallway. I was oblivious and even when I woke up I couldn’t smell anything remotely noxious. The Duchess, meanwhile, was gagging.

A few weeks ago, I took the kids to a Saturday morning film show at the Everyman, the swanky new cinema in Leeds. It’s all sofa seats, cushions, gourmet food and coffees for the parents. It was a middle class bubble for two hours.

Shamefully, it was only when we were walking back to the car that I could see Little Buddha’s undercarriage looked bulky and I soon realised that she must have spent a good half hour stinking the place out. I can cope with the idea of tutting mums and dads but not the need to apply cream to her sore bottom for several days.

I do try to compensate by checking her regularly. Thankfully, she’s on the slow path to potty training.

Once she can sort herself out, it’s all profit for me. I certainly won’t be going to the Norfolk clinic that tries to cure ‘anosmia’. Not when Boy Wonder is increasingly boffing our house out now he’s on school dinners and I can float through the house unscathed, like an untouchable angel. Indeed, in years to come, when the pair of them might be digesting exotic foods and ales on a regular basis, my current deficiency will feel like a superpower.

In the meantime, I just pray we never have a gas leak.

The five stages of cinema going for parents

I went to the cinema the other week for the first time in more than three years. My last visit was to see the Dark Knight with the Duchess just before our son was born.┬áThis time I saw another melancholic tale of skulduggery: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. I felt guilty that my London work trip meant I could enjoy a night at the flicks (hey kids, this is an ancient word that means the cinema; other such phrases are ‘record shop’ and ‘job centre’), so I was careful to choose a film that the Duchess wouldn’t ever want to see. I also needed to avoid looking like a middle age perv watching young people in their underwear. So that was the Inbetweeners out on both counts.

Continue reading

A tip for expectant dads: read blogs not books

Before the Boy Wonder was born, when we were predictably naive, excited and terrified about what awaited us, the Duchess had a stack of books by her bed about giving birth. One night, I had a rummage through the most modern-looking manual: I fully expected there to be only a small chapter for men and I knew the word ‘father’ would merit only a few direct references in the index. That was fine. What surprised – and angered – me was that the chapter was a preachy, patronising, poorly-written exercise in persuading the prospective dad to realise he had responsibilities and try to make some kind of contribution. I didn’t need telling. What I needed was some practical advice about what to expect and what I might need to do, in the first week, the first month and thereafter.

Continue reading