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.

Watership frown

Two rabbitsI’M LOOKING after rabbits this week. They belong to Boy Wonder’s school. I didn’t say a word when the Duchess informed me we were housing them through the school holidays. Now the rest of the family is down south for a few days, and I’m left holding the spinach and the pooper scooper, I wish I’d used at least two words.

I don’t like pets. In fact, I’m scared of them. I’ve always said that the Worst Job In the Universe is pet shop assistant. All of that chirruping and chirping. All of those smells. When Rocky Balboa courted Adrian at the local pet shop I nearly vomited in horror. Don’t do it, Rocky, I cried – she works in a pet shop, she’ll never properly remove the odour. He didn’t listen, of course. Punch drunk they call it.

Pet rescue

Adrian would have needed Rocky’s help to install the hutch in our garden. It’s got two floors, private bedrooms and an activity centre. Given the cost of housing in ‘rabbit hutch Britain’, if we still lived down south we could probably rent out this temporary extension for at least £250 per week.

The Duchess works weekend shifts, so I recently had a practice run feeding the rabbits and cleaning out their litter tray. Much to Boy Wonder’s mirth, I shooed them away from the front of the hutch before I started my duties (they’ve got teeth and claws, you know). Molly, the female and elder, got extra greens for being neat and tidy, pooping in the designated area. Ralph, otherwise known as ScatterArse, did not. The rest of the time, the Duchess has treated them like VIP guests, with exhaustive clean-ups (she ACTUALLY gets in the hutch, the mad demon!), three-course meals and soothing care. (For some reason, it reminds me of our courting days.)

Anyway, I had to work late tonight so I’ve just fed the very hungry beasts. I instinctively introduced myself as ‘Uncle Shaun’ and actually enjoyed watching them tuck into their greens and pellets (although I’ve suddenly got vague recall that the latter should only be dispensed once a day and I might be causing leporine obesity). I audibly wished them good night, like they were friends.

I hope ITV4 is showing Rocky tonight. I’m becoming attached.

The 15th step to follow before you decide to have children

A BLOG post entitled ‘Fourteen steps to follow before you have children’ reached me this week, along with probably thousands of others as it apparently went viral around the world. It’s deserved success is due to its witty, perceptive insights into the everyday difficulties and frustrations of parenthood, all dressed up as a test for would be parents.

The post originally appeared on the parenting website Mamami, although a more accessible version can be found on an Australian news website (which is also proof of its global popularity).

My favourite is ‘Test 4: Dressing Small Children’:

1. Buy a live octopus and a string bag.
2. Attempt to put the octopus into the string bag so that no arms hangout.
Time Allowed: 5 minutes.

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Fishing poo out of the bath and other potty training delights

Potty trainingA few weeks ago, we thought we’d cracked potty training but the initial euphoria quickly faded and we’ve remained knee deep in soiled nappies.

So, this week marks the beginning of the end. Or the end of the beginning. I’ve got a few days off work and Boy Wonder’s nappy days are officially over.

This morning, we strapped him into his Big Boy Pants and the day began. And it was quite a day.

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‘Daddy, you smell…’

Me: ‘I can’t lay my head on your pillow tonight because I haven’t had time for a shower and I’m all sweaty from my bike ride home.’
Boy Wonder: ‘Did you get wet?’
Me: ‘No, I’m all sweaty from my bike ride. If I lay on your pillow it’ll get sweaty as well. Do I smell?’
Boy Wonder sniffs my damp hair. Nods.
Me: ‘What do I smell of? Sweat?’
Boy Wonder: ‘No… you smell of poo… and doggies.’
Me: ‘Thanks, son. Anything else?’
Boy Wonder: ‘Another doggy.’

Potty training remains below par

A few days ago, I understood what Rory McIlroy’s dad must feel like when he watches his special boy approach a potentially winning putt at a major tournament.

To the casual viewer, his son jabs the putter and the ball flies across the green to its destination, the cue for raucous cheers, pumped fists and congratulatory hugs all round. However, to McIlroy Snr, the ball probably inches across the turf at pedestrian pace, threatens to deviate with every bobble and only ever drops into the hole after a pause of epic delay.

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