Since Christmas, shit got real -in so far as the boy is eating solid food which means we’re having to deal with the subsequent reality of an increase in mass/weight/odour in the downstairs department. Of course this is to be expected, the little fellow is growing-up and if he wasn’t dropping mudbricks into his Pampers we’d have cause for concern, and it’s a walk in the park when compared to wiping old ladies arses during my employ as an auxiliary nurse whilst studying at university. I feel obliged to add that they were old, exclusively women’s, bots because the hospice in which I originally worked didn’t have any male patients (male geriatric nurses were few and far between too) and in all my years working part-time as an auxiliary nurse I only ever had to deal with one or two male patients. And one of those times is worth a mention.

The following took place in a hospital in the summer holidays a year before I graduated. It was to be my last ever shift.

Opening scene. 7.30am. A hospital somewhere in East London.

“Hello, where shall I start, Sister?”

“Before handover you need to clean Mr. Heller’s penis”

“Right… Now?”

“Now. Because it smells.”

“Right. Er, sorry. I’ve just come on shift and, ‘hi, I’m Jamie, hi’, and, well, has it suddenly begun to smell, like, right now…?”

“…We knew you were starting this morning so we waited…”

“Right. Why? Sorry, this is a bit odd.”

“Because, you know, you’re a man.”


“So we thought it was better you cleaned it.”

“Right. Why?”

“Because you’re a man.”

“We’ve established that, but why does my being a man suddenly make me a, sorry about this, a cock expert?”


“I’m quite familiar with one. I’m fairly sure you’ve seen. More… Where is Mr. Heller?”

Mr. Heller’s room. 7.35am. It’s worth noting that Mr. Heller is quite large and sporting faded blue ink, notably, Swallow’s on both hands (the sorts you see on people that may or may not have done a stretch in prison).

“Morning, Mr. Heller”


“Er, Sister has asked me to come and give you a quick bed bath before breakfast…”


“so if you don’t mind I just need to…”

“Fuck off”

“Okay, look mate, apparently your dick smells and it needs a wash, so let’s just get this done and we can have some breakfast.”

“Do fucking what!? You come anywhere me, Cunt, and you’ll get a fucking slap.”

“Mr. Heller, look, I really don’t want to be doing this anymore that you, believe me, in fact I’d argue that this situation is a hell of a lot worse from my angle, so let’s just get…”

*huge slap*

“Right, fuck this. I’m done. Fuck you.”

7.45am on my bike and heading back home to bed.

The end.

Anyway, it’s not just about turds, he’s now sleeping in the little room that was built within the living room my mate John and I constructed last February, which has been a lot more traumatic than I’d anticipated, especially after having envisaged a return to ordinary sleeping patterns. Up until that point he’d slept with us in a little cot that’s open on one side and cunningly attached to the side of the bed. When he woke for a feed, which was frequent, he’d be gently rolled into bed to do his business before being returned back into position. His proximity also meant that I could regularly assuage my considerable paranoia that he was still breathing.

Now in his new room, we have to rely on the baby squawker to monitor his welfare. It’s actually incredibly sensitive to the point you can hear his breathing through it, but he point-blank refuses to sleep without some background noise so we leave Radio 4 on all night at a level that both comforts him and doesn’t bother us via his squawker… Bottom line is that we can only hear him when he’s yelling so I’m finding myself up during various portions of the night, creeping over to his room to make sure he’s still alive. For the first week I slept less than all the recent sleepless nights put to together. Admittedly, it’s easier now -he’s sleeping pretty much through the night- but still, when the squawker begins to whine at 3.35am a part of me punches the air.

‘They don’t tell you that at ante-natal classes’©middleagedmetaldad



Christmas Eve was the driest I can remember -the fact I can says it all- a nice quiet dinner with friends, whilst being constantly reminded throughout that, winewise, I was driving the following morning and that my duty of care was both reminding me now with her face and said care extended to the small person sat in the corner trying to eat a placemat.

Already five months with child, the missus attended to all of Christmas 2015 in a state of perfect sobriety. I dimly recall poking at the bump with a stiff forefinger whilst in charge of a particularly well-rounded cigar after lunch, I assured her that in 2016 we’d palm the kid onto family/friends so she could get utterly arseholed. ‘Of course’, I said as I knocked back another bottle of Tesco’s dubious Merlot, ‘I’ll be right there’, prior to disappearing into the shed with my brother-in-law to smoke-up some more of last season’s homegrown.

Cut to Christmas morning 2016, it’s already 10.30 am and we should have left at 10. I can’t work out how to attach this bastard baby seat into the hatchback we’ve borrowed off of my brothers flat-mate, and we’ve not even packed the car yet. In a state of pink-faced stress and worry I look across at my silent bikes parked a few yards away. ‘I love you’, I whisper to them.

The agony of driving a car on the same motorbike-route to the Surrey Downs to see the fam was offset by the fact that it was a beautiful, traffic-less sunny day. There were also no bikes to rub my face in it. I briefly remembered the English man rushing over to me at the French service station, somewhere in the outskirts of Dijon, calling me a lucky see-you-next-Tuesday because I was biking to Italy with the missus. “I’m stuck in a fucking car with my fucking partner and her fucking daughter! And ‘That’s What I call Music! 74’ on loop. Kill me!” What an A-hole, I thought, as I loaded the luggage and wife on Alan the Fireblade and pulled hard towards the Alps, ahaha, sucker!

On Christmas day, as promised, the boy was well and truly absorbed into the bosom of the family. Between grandparents, siblings, in-laws and cousins, we hardly got the chance to spend more than two minutes with him, despite repeated attempts to grab him off various family members. ‘We hardly ever see him!’ they objected before he was ripped out of our arms and removed to some far-flung corner of the house for the private entertainment of his charges. This resulted in a ludicrous inter-marital competition to see who could change his nappy, secretly hoping he’d done a behemoth turd in order to eke out an additional few minutes of seriously compromised quality time. I’d not anticipated this, I’d imagined him rolling adorably through sheets of discarded wrapping paper whilst the family collectively remarked on what a handsome little boy he was before returning to their plates laden with pigs-in-blankets and Brussels Sprouts. On top of all this I couldn’t even get properly pissed because I was driving (again) the following morning… Still one now wouldn’t hurt, it’s only 9pm which gives me hours to ensure that I’m nice and clean for the 11am start tomorrow… I catch the eye of my missus just about to demolish a glass of red wine and take heed of a warning glare, I return with crestfallen ‘it’s my birthday tomorrow’ expression and am countered by a nodding glance over to a sleeping baby in the arms of his granddad.