We had more illness in Aitchworld Towers this week. In fact we had a five-baby-grow-day with Arthur, each change being required due to a different bodily fluid soiling the garment he was wearing – we had sick, snot, poo, wee and water soiling, the last one being when we thought he was over the worst of it and was happily sitting in his high chair eating some food. In a vain effort to get some fluids back into him we let him have free reign with his sippy cup. Obviously we didn’t supervise quite as closely as we should have done because he managed to tip pretty much the entire contents of it out of the cup and onto the baby-grow that we had changed him into mere moments before.
Henry, in the meantime, was thought to have escaped this bout of sickness, which was quite a relief. Then he woke us up in the middle of the night and by the smell wafting our way in a manner not dissimilar to the way the fragrance of Bisto was depicted in the adverts of my childhood, it was soon apparent that he had shat himself, and not in a good way. In fact his poo was so explosive that we had to strip him down in the bath to avoid contamination and hose him down. The resultant soilage was of a nature that was liquid and solid all at the same time. One of us drew the short straw of pushing the lumps down the plughole of the bath…
Thankfully, both the boys are well and neither me nor Mrs Aitchworld managed to pick up the stomach bug in a major way from the boys, although there was enough retching one night from me that I did call in to work to book the day off sick, as it was touch and go for a while. Fortunately it was all retch and no vomit – I’m not good at being ill, which is a surprise given that in my formative drinking days I was such a lightweight that I could potentially vomit after just a couple of pints, usually as I was walking along the street between pubs and not necessarily have to even break stride, casually up-chucking over my shoulder. Arthur seems to have inherited this talent from me.
This sickness bug seemed to be quite prolonged, so much so that we were worried about the boys and their weights. We haven’t had them on the scales for a while, so recently while we were in a Tesco in Shropshire, we put Henry on the scales in the Fruit ‘n’ Veg aisle. We needn’t have worried as he exceeded their maximum payload, forcing them into an error mode from which they wouldn’t recover while we were in the store. Unfortunately this buggered up any chance of weighing Arthur and we didn’t think they would put him on the scales at the tills.
We are used to changes of clothes. This has extended to Mrs Aitchworld and I, because as soon as we started some semblance of a weaning schedule, we have had to change our own clothes after a feed, the boys getting more food over us than they do in their mouths.
I have mentioned soft-play areas in the past. This week, in a state of boredom on Sunday afternoon, we went to the local Wacky Warehouse. I was very nearly barred. The problem is with a Wacky Warehouse is that the general public are allowed to use them. This means that the general public’s children will be there, and despite all the notices about how they should be supervised at all times, the gulf between request and reality is somewhat vast.
At some point, Mrs Aitchworld and I were sat in the ball-pit with a child each. There is something about twins that appeals to children of all ages. As we sat there, minding our own business and entertaining Arthur and Henry by burying them in primary coloured plastic spheres, other, unsupervised children would poke their heads through the plastic strips to look at the boys. One child, obviously thinking he was helping out by tidying up but clearly old enough to know he was just being a tool, kept throwing balls through the strips into the ball-pit area, but in a way that meant they were nearly hitting Arthur and Henry. Seeing as they were so small and couldn’t defend their own honour, protection fell to daddy.
The next time the ball-throwing little shit poked his head through the plastic strips, I launched a ball at full force at his stupid, gap-toothed, gurning, freckled face. This, apparently, isn’t the done thing. Fortunately, his reaction was quick enough to dodge the ball and duck back behind the plastic strips. I say fortunately because when I saw him talking to his dad, it turns out that he was the offspring of a heavily tattooed, muscle-bound meat-head, who had absolutely no qualms about completely ignoring any anti-smoking legislation that may be in place as he sat there toking on an e-cig, the big daft cock. I mean, really? Smoking in a children’s play area? Are you really that dumb? Well, yes I suppose so; you are afterall sucking the fumes given off superheated chemicals into your lungs.
I didn’t take any chances over repercussions and reported him to the staff in order to get him kicked out as quickly as possible. Always thinking, me. This was partly to protect my children from the harm caused by second hand e-cig smoke and partly to avoid getting a good kicking for throwing plastic balls at maximum velocity at somebody’s child’s face. I know if anyone did this to Arthur or Henry, no matter how much of a complete shit they had been, I would be on the warpath. Double standards, anyone?
The other activity we have endured, sorry, enjoyed is organised messy play. It is a great way to while away a couple of hours of a Saturday afternoon. I had heard of this, but hadn’t really appreciated what it involved. Mrs Aitchworld booked the boys onto this and I went along to an old ramshackle village hall in the middle of nowhere. Laid out in the main hall were a selection of hexagonal plastic trays, each about a metre and a half in diameter and maybe five centimetres deep, which would contain the mess that the babies and toddlers would play in.
The first one was filled with neon pink rice and various implements to shovel it around. The second was filled with spaghetti, of varying vibrant fluorescent hues and large plastic bowls to pour it into and out of. Another simply had a box of wafer cones and a large tub of ice cream with a couple of scoops with which the children could attempt to be ice-cream sellers. A fourth tray contained angel delight and a few fairy wands to push through the goo. There was also one that contained the breakfast cereal, Golden Nuggets. I think the theme to that one was pirate treasure. Another contained jelly and whipped cream. One that we avoided had bright purple, erm, well, we don’t know what it was, but we were assured it was safe.
The last one we put the boys in though was essentially a sand pit. It had a load of damp sand in it and some mini buckets, spades and rakes for building sand castles. We should have avoided this one too, partly for the reason that the boys were somewhat sticky from all the stuff they had already played in and the sand became welded to them, making it a nightmare to wash off. At the end of the messy play session there are a couple of washing up bowls to clean your children in. That’s two between all of the children, of which I reckon were in excess of twenty in number. You will notice that all of these aforementioned hexagons were laden with items that were all food based. Some of them were dyed a very vibrant shade of luminous but working in the chemical side of the food industry, I am secure in the knowledge that the companies that make these dyes and colourings manufacture them to be entirely edible. Testimony to this was the fact that Henry and Arthur had pretty much eaten their way around the whole messy play, which included the dried neon rice. The reason we should have avoided the sand pit was that the boys, Henry in particular thought that this final tray was also food.
You would have thought after the initial handful of sand went in to their mouths, there may have been some sort of adverse reaction to it, such as spitting it out. Indeed Arthur, although not spitting out the sand did at least avoid a repeat performance. At this stage of the messy play session Mrs Aitchworld had gone off to secure the washing up bowls so at least the boys went in first, rather than after twenty odd other children had been washed in them, so I was flying solo looking after the boys, which is where twins become quite a challenge. While I was entertaining Arthur and showing him what to do, Henry was shovelling great gob-fulls of sand down him. I was trying to move his hand away from his mouth, but at the last count I would estimate that he ate five handfuls of sand at the bare minimum.
Now I don’t think the messy play and Henry getting ill are in any way linked, despite the illness being in quick succession to the messy play. However, it is somewhat surprising, given the amount of sand that he crammed into his mouth and then swallowed, that he wasn’t shitting bricks.