Israel Stories

Thursday, October 25, 2007

My Child Overfloweth

I’m not anal (I think I can print that word) I am not obsessive and I am certainly not picky, pernickety, fussy or overly particular about most things. Things are as they are and rarely worth the bother of changing unless they begin to smell or they’re a baby.

I have no problem changing my own 2 year old as I did her siblings, its what you do. Most fathers like to be involved and its one way of escaping for half an hour and having some quality time alone with the baby, who very often is feeling attention starved. Now don’t get me wrong, I really don’t like changing nappies (diapers). I feel the whole experience lacks a certain je nes se quai, maybe it’s the total sensory overload that really detracts from the whole helping / bonding experience.

So what happens when you have to change somebody else’s baby. Not a chance mate, no way, absolutely not a hope in Arsenal (thought Id throw that in) of doing it. Cant do it and wont do it. A child should be changed by their own parents. Each parent has an in build tolerance which only works on their own child, sort of genetic link, match the smell to the parent.

And women seem to be able to change other kids. My wife changes other kids if they need it. How? How on earth can she stomach it, even the idea makes me shudder.

The nearest supermarket to me stocks everything. I mean everything including LCD TVs and fish shaped croutons. Everything that you could ever want (we like the fish shaped croutons) is available on its large broad shelves. My youngest and I were busy stocking up for the winter, actually it was a weekly shop that we’ll be paying for well into the winter, when I hear those immortal words, the words that every father dreads to hear more than ten meters from the house, ‘abba poo’.

“Are you sure” I asked, a nod, “are you really sure”, another nod. So I did the pick up and smell movement, a small but graceful maneuver that I have perfected for lifting babies, passing them under my nose and returning them to the ground while my brain makes the fine calculations and assesses the situation.

She was right, and I was standing in the chalavi (milk) section. We should really be in the meat section, I mused.

What to do?

Well clearly other people had noticed and I could sense their overall shopping experience was being affected as the smell started penetrating the 1% yogurts section, wafting into the fresh pasta and 9% cheese slices reaching as far as the pre-grated mozzarella. Soon it would reach the Soya products and over to the bakery, we had to take action.

“OK, little girl, you need changing but I don’t have nappies, wipes or a nappy sack.” Now I was being tested, all my resourcefulness and my survival techniques were being called into play. My survival techniques, up till then, had been the four words that every man uses while ducking i.e. its not my fault. That wasn’t going to help me now.

Brainwave, look for mothers with pushers a kids similar ages who obviously would be well stocked. Genius, except there were none. New plan, buy some nappies and wipes. Wipes was easy and after five minutes they were safely under my arm, but nappies.

I looked at my daughter, “how big are you, how heavy are you, what size are you?”.

“Abba, poo.”

The smell was becoming overpowering, even standing in the vegetable section.

“Are you having trouble,” a voice asked from over my shoulder.

Oh no, I thought, another interfering Israeli who wants to tell me my daughter is packing a full load, or is too hot or too cold or just wants to tell me that her hair is out of place, but I smiled.

“Erm, as it happens yes, but I doubt you could help me”.

She smiled the smile of an experienced mother looking at an idiot father who was stuck miles from home with a child, a full nappy and no equipment.

“Come with me,” she ordered.

So we followed through the supermarket, out through the storage area, to a small table.

She motioned me to pass her my daughter, who she placed on the table. Thoughts of Abraham whizzed through my head, but I doubt if she was about to commit child sacrifice she would do it in a supermarket warehouse.

She flipped open a previously unseen bag and produced a nappy, wipes, all the equipment. I went to take them, but she brushed me aside.

“You think if I have all these things I cant change a child’s nappy?”

“Just thought you wouldn’t want to, I mean she’s not your child”.

“Typical man, just because you are unable to change another child don’t think that a seasoned my mother like me can’t do it. Who do you think changes your child at gan?”

Actually I had never thought about that.

That day I learned two things, number one, always be prepared and have the right equipment and number two to have maximum respect for all those gannanot who change our kids when we’re not there.

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