Nesting

If you’d asked me 3 years ago what ‘nesting’ was I’d probably have pointed you in Bill Oddie’s direction. Ask me today, having been through the process twice and you’ll find I have an understanding of this mysterious phenomenon that is only shared by pregnant women and a few ancient holy men of the Himalayas.

In essence, ‘nesting’ is the process of preparing your home for the arrival of a baby but with less twigs and saliva than if you were building an actual nest. To help you find where you sit on this paint stained and splinter ridden journey I’ve broken nesting down into 2 levels:

Level 1
Mostly occupied by seasoned pros, Level 1 is the ‘got the t-shirt’ zone when it comes to nesting. These guys already have all the gear from babies gone by and bear the battle scars of building 12 IKEA Kallax units at 1am on a Sunday. These guys have nothing to prove and they don’t intend to. Dig out the old sterliser, grab box of Mamia nappies, job done.

Level 2
If your other half is going through Level 2 of nesting you’ll know about it. You know that spare time you used to have? Remember watching the mid-day kick off? Yeah, you can forget that, you’ll be swapping your local for the paint matching corner in B&Q. Basically, during Level 3 there is a chemical change that happens in a pregnant woman’s brain where no matter how many years you’ve spent creating your perfect home, in her eyes it immediately turns into a complete dump. 

Unfortunately there’s only 2 levels, it’s all or nothing with this lark.

nursery progress
Stripes. Don’t do it unless you have the patience of Marge Simpson

Essentials
Regardless of whether or not you’ve recreated the Sistine Chapel on your nursery ceiling there’s a safety aspect to all this nesting malarkey. By making a few relatively inexpensive (bet you’ve not heard that word since finding out you were having a baby) adjustments to your home you can drastically reduce the likelihood of spending four hours in A&E three times a week for the next few years. Here are my top 5 baby/toddler proofing essentials:

Stair Gates
We’ve all seen Prison Break right? Well unless you want a mini Schofield (Michael not Phil) drawing the blueprints to your house across their 2 year old frame with a chunky blue Crayola and breaking out in the middle of the night you’d better invest in a few decent stair gates. We have them at the top and bottom of the stairs to stop Fenh from nipping out to the local Texaco in the middle of the night for a strawberry Yazoo. We also have one on the outside of his bedroom door too stop him from creeping into our room at night. Kate has some pretty sharp reflexes so it’s best no to risk her mistaking him for a burglar. Joking aside, picking the right stair gate is more important than you’d think. You’re going to use it several times a day so if you get one that’s a bit awkward and annoying it’s going to drive you nuts. We’ve had a few and have found the Safety 1st Flat Step Metal Gate to be the best. Easy to fit, very secure and the flat step at the bottom means you won’t stub your toe on the bottom bar and wake the whole house up when creeping up to bed after Match of the Day.

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Scofield and T-Bag had no chance of escape this time.

Safety 1st Securtech Flat Step Metal Gate

Foam door stoppers
If, like me, the thought of a toddler trapping their fingers in a door makes you wince so hard you give yourself another permanent wrinkle (I’m now officially a collector) then door stoppers are a must. There are so many different types to choose from but we found the foam ones that fit over the top of the door to be the best. They’re super quick to put on and take off, just stick it over the top of the door and you’re done. The bonus with them being on top of the door means that little hands can’t keep pulling them off.
Foam Door Stoppers

Corner protectors
Another one of those heart in your mouth moments that’s up there with watching your 2 year old trying to juggle with your digital camera, phone and watch is seeing them hurtle towards the corner of the coffee table with their trousers round their ankles. We bought these little rubber covers that stick over the corners of, well, anything with corners and they seem to do the job as long as your kid doesn’t become obsessed with taking them off. It was either these or some sort of foam strip along every piece of wooden furniture in the house and as much as I love watching Total Wipeout, there’s no need to turn the living room into a shrine to it.
Corner Protectors

Plug Socket Protectors
I’m not really sure how you can go wrong here but feel free to educate me. We bought these, they were cheap, they work.
Plug Socket Protectors

Cupboard Child Locks
Now this is a tricky one. To this day I’ve not found a decent cupboard child lock that didn’t make me swear like Malcolm Tucker. There seems to be something infuriating about every single one of them as far as I can tell. At one point we had to resort to using gaffer tape to stop Fenh getting in to the condiment cupboard. For the avoidance of doubt, we gaffer taped the cupboard, not Fenh. So if anyone can let me know of some decent cupboard child locks before Rory starts toddling about I would be very grateful. Otherwise it’s back to having a kitchen that looks like a cross between the Hacienda and an episode of ‘How to Eat Well for Less’. Some fetching Greg Wallace/Factory Records inspired gaffer tape for your perusal below.

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Greg Wallace Gaffer Tape

One final piece of advice. If you’re asked to paint stripes in the nursery… Just say no.

Dadventure Festival 2018

Since I started my Instagram page just over a year ago I’ve been to a few ‘dad meet ups’ so when Skinner aka @nomadidaddy invited me along to ‘Dadventure Festival’ with 15 other dads I wasn’t as apprehensive/nervous about it as you might think. Firstly, I had already met Skinner and a few of the other guys so I knew at least 31.25% of the guys there wouldn’t be dicks (yes, I have included myself in that percentage). Secondly, I’m yet to meet anyone at any of the events I’ve attended that I genuinely didn’t like (on the whole, instadads are a pretty friendly bunch). Finally, I thought “how much of a ‘dadventure’ can this actually be?” I was pretty sure it would just be 16 dads sitting round a campfire in Wales drinking Adnams ale and M&S barbecue. I was very wrong on 1 of these 3 assumptions…

Day 1 – Southampton – Epsom – Reading – Llanberis

At 11am there was a knock at the door from a Jeep delivery driver who handed me the keys to a shiny new top of the range Jeep Compass. I loaded up the Jeep with the essentials that Skinner asked me to bring (pants, a mountaineering towel and some bravery… 2 out of 3 aint bad eh?) and set off for Epsom to pick up Connor (@dads_and_donts). I’ve formed a great friendship with Connor over the last year and we’ve met up a few times for different dad themed events so it was really cool to see where he lived and meet Lily and the kids. After a quick stop off at Connor’s house we were en route to Reading to pick up Daniel (@iamdanielyoung) and David (@davidsamgibbs). I hadn’t met Daniel or David before but I had been watching their friendship blossom on Instagram over the past few days. As we pulled up at David’s parents house they skipped down the drive holding hands, jumped in the car and proceeded to tell us all about pushing their beds together in a hotel the night before… 

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The 4.5 hour drive seemed to go pretty quickly while we swapped stories of our social media journeys so far. Wales was offering up some serious scenery and self confessed city boy Connor was getting very excited about seeing tractors in real life. We arrived at Llanberis Youth Hostel for Pizza and beer where we did a quick intro of who we were etc and I realised what a diverse group of guys I’d be spending the next few days with. We jumped back in the Jeeps and headed off into the hills in Convoy (I’ve been dying to use that word). We had to do some proper off roading to get to the Lodge and we all realised how off grid we would be for the next few days.

We Arrived at Crashpad Lodges at about 9pm and spent 30 minutes checking out the awesome kit that we’d be using overthe next few days. Shortly after, a few of us congregated in the kitchen (as all good parties do) and rather than the conversation revolving around football or the usual bloke topics, we found ourselves discussing the pressures we have faced as fathers and how we have struggled or succeeded in supporting our partners with the struggles they have faced as new mothers. At this point I got a real sense that this wouldn’t just be a bit of a jolly and there was a chance that some genuine bonds could be formed.

Day 2 – Yoga, climbing, firelighting and night navigation

We started day 2 with a Yoga class from Charlie Dark aka @daddydarkRDC. I’d never done a yoga class and didn’t know much about it so I decided to throw myself into it and savasana like my life depended on it (savasana, also known as ‘corpse pose’ is basically just laying flat on your back, I’m world class at this one). Charlie was really engaging and spoke a lot about ‘being present in the now’ which is something I will definitely be taking away from this experience. For the next hour we wobbled together, laughed together and fell over together (okay I was the only one who fell over) and from this point on I knew we were all going to get along just fine.

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After our Yoga session we set off to do some rock climbing by Llanberis Lake. When we arrived at the rock face it all suddenly got very real. I wouldn’t say I’ve ever been overly fond of heights, but equally never particularly afraid. I think I’m one of those people who gets that urge to jump when they’re near a ledge but would never actually do it. It’s hard to explain, but yeah… that. Anyway, Skinner and Russ (@Rooselbelchere) scampered up to the top and set up the ropes and supports while we all stood around looking at each other weighing up who was going to go first. Ever the gentleman I shuffled my way to the back to let everyone else have a go first. Dan stepped up and made it look ridiculously easy, even managing to do a bit of vlogging at the top, which considering he has one arm takes some doing, the respect I have for this guy went through the roof at this point. Everyone had a go and we all made it up to the top. There were no competitive attitudes or one-upmanship which is often the case when get a largegroup of men together, just good vibes all round. After a quick scramble up to the top of the ridge to take in the view we made our way back to the lodge.

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After a quick change of clothes we grabbed our firelighting kit (kindly donated by @light_my_fire_sweden) and went out to the yard to watch Skinner and Russ give us a demo on how to light fires using various items you might have with you in anemergency. We learned how to light fires using batteries, cough syrup, bark, tin foil, wire wool and all manner of other stuff. Sergei (@thedadlab) was paying close attention here so we may well see him burning his shed down with the battery from a fire alarm on insta live soon. Anyway, I had been watching ‘Naked and Afraid’ on Discovery in preparation for this very activityso I was sure I was going to nail it first time. I sat on my own, with my @whitby_and_co knife started making tinder. After about 15 minutes I was only one who hadn’t lit a fire yet. Connor and Mike both ‘kindly’ came over… “Do you want a tampon mate?” Not quite what I was expecting to hear on an adventure trip but there you go. I had changed my tune after another 30 minutes and found myself shouting “Quick! Somebody get me a f*cking tampon!” The next time Kate sends me out to the shop for tampons I’ll look at them with a new found respect and might even pick up an extra pack incase I need to light a fire on the way home. Another thing that will stay with me forever is Sergei smashing logs to bits with a tiny axe and everyone looking on in awe/fear/silence for 2 hours.

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Once the fires were lit we cooked up some amazing M&S food and even introduced Rogier (@the.suburbandad) to halloumi for the first time. “I like the sound it makes on your teeth!” His dutch mind = blown. A few questionably pink sausages later we were prepping for some night navigation. Skinner and Russ had hidden 2 bottles of Adnams single malt whisky in a field, we were given a nightlight a compass and a bearing before heading of into the night. We needn’t have bothered with the gear to be honest as Matt (@rad_young_things) usedsome sort of sixth dad sense and sniffed it out in about 2 minutes. We spent the rest of the night sat around the camp fire drinking beer and swapping stories of fatherhood, social media and not getting as much sleep as we should before climbing a mountain at 7am.

Day 3 – Snowdon

After a quick breakfast and bag prep we set off for Snowdon in the rain. We looked like a private army/crew of bin men in our matching waterproofs from Decathlon and awesome blue hiking shoes from Salomon. We had a broad range of hiking skill in the group from complete novice (me) to seasoned pro’s like Huw (@wander_wonder_huw) Skinner and Russ (@rooselbelchere). I realised pretty early on that this wasn’t going to be easy. The rain started off pretty light and we stopped at regular intervals to give everyone (me) a rest. As we got higher the visibility got worse, the weather got worse, the footing got worse and the conversation started to dry up as we struggled on in horizontal rain and I’m pretty sure Skinner lied to me every time I asked him how far it was (about 435 times). As we approached the summit the wind really picked up and it genuinely got a bit scary. Apparently there can be a 45 minute wait at the summit to for photo’s etc but we only saw a group of teenagers up there in shorts and t-shirts trying look cool in their Nike Flyknits and blue lips. We managed to get up the stone steps to the top where for a few minutes we forgot about our sore feet and wrinkled hands and shared a genuine moment. The wind was so strong that were literally clinging on to the rock and we had to crawl down the stone steps. We took a brief few minutes refuge in some storm shelters that we brought with us to try and regain some heat and refuel for the walk down. At this point Skinner announced that we had to get down “as fast as possible!” These are not the words you want to hear coming from an arctic guide when you’re halfway up a mountain. We packed up, put some extra layers on made our way back to the lodge with a huge sense of achievement knowing that we had all just shared an experience that we would remember for the rest of our lives.

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After a day of physical exertion we were more than happy to have a quiet night in. Connor and I got in the kitchen, put some Paul Weller on and cooked up an epic M&S chicken keralan curry for the guys while sinking a few Adnams ales. The food went down well and we all spent the night talking about how brave we had all been. Chill level was reaching maximum by this point so after some great chat and a hot chocolate we got an early night.

Day 4 – Goodbye Dads

We were up at 6am to hit the road and get Daniel to the airport for a flight. After we pulled out of the lodge we could see that the small stream we had driven though to get there was now basically Niagra Falls. The lads jumped out ‘so there was less weight in the car’… more like they didn’t to risk getting wet if the Jeep didn’t make it. They needn’t have bothered, the Jeep Compass ploughed through like Sergei through a pile of logs and we hit the road. Connor had swapped Jeeps so we had Mr Charlie Dark to keep us entertained with talk of how nice Beyonce smells and thoughts of starting ‘Hike Dem Crew’. We made good time and dropped Charlie and Daniel at Heathrow where David and Daniel made an emotional farewell. The remainder of the journey was awkward to say the least with David telling me how special Daniel is all the way to Reading.

Huge thanks Skinner, Russ and all the brands who helped to make this event possible, I’ve taken far more away from it than I ever expected to.

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YHA – https://www.yha.org.uk

Crashpad Lodges – http://crashpadlodges.com

Jeep – https://www.jeep.co.uk

Adnams – http://adnams.co.uk

Marks & Spencer – https://www.marksandspencerfoodhall.co.uk

Salomon – https://www.salomon.com/uk/

Whitby & Co – http://www.whitbyandco.co.uk

Decathlon – https://www.decathlon.co.uk

Polaroid – https://polaroid.com/international/united-kingdom

The Lock Climbing Wall – https://www.essexoutdoors.com

Ordnance Survey – https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk

Alex Gregory – https://www.harpercollins.co.uk

MoBros Grooming – https://www.mobros.co.uk

Light My Fire of Sweden – http://www.lightmyfire.com

Jamm Toys – https://www.jammtoys.com

DMM Climbing – https://dmmclimbing.com

My Mini Map – http://www.myminimap.co.uk

1,000 Mile Socks – https://1000mile.co.uk

Hydrapak – https://hydrapak.com

Big Up Fam – https://bigupfam.com

 

 

 

Soft Play Survival

soft play tyler

The first rule of Soft Play is… You don’t go to soft play when it’s raining.

The second rule of Soft Play is… You don’t go to soft play when it’s raining.

The third rule of… You get the idea.

Now, the new parents among you may be thinking “what’s the big deal? It’s just soft play!” For the more experienced parents out there you’ll  know that there has never been a more frightening combination of two harmless words. Many of you probably broke out in a cold sweat just reading the title. You’re not alone guys, I just had my third cold sweat since starting this post.

Believe it or not, soft play can actually be a really fun and rewarding experience for the whole family. BUT, it can just as easily be about is much fun as Mike Tyson giving you a root canal so here are my top ‘dad rules ok’ for soft play survival, ignore them at your peril.

  1. Don’t go when it’s raining – Seriously, this is rule number one for a reason. Timing is the biggest single factor in determining whether you come home as a soft play supremo or a gibbering wreck. For some reason, when the heavens open, every single person on the planet with a child under the age of 10 decides to go to our local soft play centre. People actually arrive, see that the carpark is fuller than Aldi on a Sunday afternoon and think “It’s probably not that bad inside”. Try and time your visit to soft play for when it’s likely to be quiet, midweek mornings are best (unless it’s raining… obvs). Ultimately, the fewer people there are, the lower the probability of any kind of fracas/injury/general incident and the better time you’ll have.
  2. Phone ahead – This might sound a bit OTT but when you get there and find out that Kerry Katona has booked half the venue for her kid’s birthday party you’ll wish you’d made that 30 second call to check if there were any kids parties on. On the other hand, the nibbles should be decent, come si come ça.sas
  3. Dress for the occasion – First off, it’s not a fashion parade, when it comes to soft play comfort is king. Also, it’s a well known fact that chasing a toddler round soft play for 10 minutes burns more calories than the entire SAS Who Dares Wins training course so there’s no need for anything other than short sleeves. Don’t believe me? Next time you go, wear a turtle neck.
  4. Limber up – Like any form of exercise you need to warm up beforehand. Now I’m not suggesting you start doing lunges by the ball pit, bit weird… But don’t go flying in at the deep end. Start off with something nice and easy that doesn’t involve any climbing and build up to the big stuff.
  5. Don’t go on your own – Unless going alone is completely unavoidable, take a team mate. As per rule number 4, when you’re knackered after 10 minutes and the 42nd time climbing back up to the top of the slide you’ll be glad that the other half of your Legion of Doom is on hand to be tagged in.
  6. Don’t go on a full stomach – Trust me, I take pride in the fact I’m in the 2% of people who haven’t chucked up in soft play. Don’t be that guy.ball pit
  7. Do not go in the ball pit – Or as it’s otherwise known, the cesspit. Imagine a giant tombola… but instead of  winning a Freddo, you win a manky old plaster, a half eaten banana, and some toddler vomit. Our local soft play do a pretty good job of keeping the place clean (I get jabbed in the ankle with a cordless Dyson every 20 minutes or so) but when it comes to ball pits there’s only so much they can do. I mean, it’s not like they pull out the snooker umpire white gloves and give every ball a good rub is it… I fear I may have set my standards a little too high here.
  8. Don’t make eye contact – You’ll be seen as a potential friend/playmate/lame duck and before you know it, word will have spread like wildfire that there’s a grown up who’s willing to play ‘war’. In a matter of seconds you’ve been bound, gagged and tied up with a rope ladder while your toddler has snuck off and got wedged halfway down the spiral slide.
  9. Don’t fight with the other parents – When that guy with a spiderweb tattoo’d on his cheek just sits there and watches his 14 year old kid run through the toddler section knocking kids over like skittles, don’t get mad. Do the right thing…. and let his tyres down instead.
  10. Don’t get carried away – Remember, you’re the adult in this situation… With the exception of rule 9.

And there you have it. The path to soft play enlightenment. If you have any survival suggestions please let me know, we’re stronger together. *fist emoji*

 

A Few of Our Favourite Things

Amongst the sheer mass of baby-related products we’ve bought, and the millions of pounds we’ve spent in the past two years, there are a few little diamonds that stand out amongst the bigger purchases as particularly great buys. So I thought, I’d share a few of my favourites:

IKEA High Chair
The high chair, a critical purchase. These things get so much daily use, and with meal times not always being the most stress-free of experiences (for all parties), it’s essential that you don’t give yourself the unnecessary headache of wanting to launch your (empty) highchair through the nearest window.

Don’t be lured in by fancy designer high chairs that look like a cross been a boiled egg and iRobot. They will not make the rest of your house look as fancy as the houses you’ll see in the adverts for these overpriced, Mork and Mindy inspired lumps of plastic. All they’ll do is make you get disproportionately stressed when that bit of bolognese sauce starts to stain it’s perfectly spherical white behind and you realise how the rest of your house doesn’t look like an Apple showroom.

Allow me to do you a kindness and take the pain out of this decision…. Buy the £14 IKEA high chair and use the £500 you’ve saved to go away with the fam. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that this cornerstone of IKEA is not the most beautifully designed piece of furniture you’re going to own (unless you are us, then it most definitely is) but when it comes to function and value for money you really can’t beat it. I’ve been itching to get some bullet points into this post since I started writing it so here are my reasons to buy the IKEA high chair

  • Price – at £14 (£21 with the cushion) it’s more of a bargain than Peter Schmeichel back in 1991.
  • Cleaning – no awkward crevices for half eaten fish fingers and biscotti to find their way into, and with the removable tray, cleaning really is a 2 minute job. Well, unless it’s been one of ‘those’ lunchtimes where you’re going to have to jetwash the living room, high chair, baby, dogs and yourself.
  • Weight – with its simplistic design and lack of bells and whistles, this high chair is seriously light and easy to move from room to room when compared to its wooden counterparts.
  • They’re everywhere – I’d say 50% of restaurants use these high chairs, and even more so when you go abroad, so when your little Adam Richman rocks up to smash their latest man vs food contest, they’ll be perfectly happy in their favourite seat.

The Jumperoo
It stands alongside the Large Hadron Collider and Channel Tunnel as a marvel of modern engineering, and is an absolute must for any parent who has to actually ‘do things’ around the house. So unless you have an entourage of hired help to do your housework (if you do, I’m surprised you’re still reading after my £14 IKEA recommendation), I strongly advise you get on the Jumperoo train. Other than the obvious benefit of being able to do stuff, it’s great fun watching them wear themselves out bouncing around like MC Hammer.

You can never have enough storage….

Joolz Geo
Whilst I could write a whole post on this subject alone, I’ll try to keep this brief…. In my opinion if you have to use something everyday, you should never compromise on quality as you’ll only regret it if you do. Unfortunately, there are absolutely shed loads of pushchairs in every price bracket so your budget doesn’t really narrow it down all that much. In the end you just need to decide what’s important to you and you’ll find what you need. We went for the Joolz Geo for the following reasons:

  • Kate really liked it.

Big Sensible Car
If you are anything like me and you actually like cars, then get ready to make a big fat apology in advance to yours, because it’s about to appear in an episode of ‘Kid My Ride’. Picture it, Xzibit has just nipped round to collect your pride and joy, it’s been through the Kid My Ride workshop and he’s spitting these bars ahead of the big reveal…

“I’m talking baby seats, baby mirrors, murdered-out suction cup, blinds and baby on board signs that keep falling off. The latest baby in-car entertainment including nursery rhyme CDs, iPad holders so you never miss an episode of Blaze and toy cars that get jammed in the seat mechanisms. We’ve installed enough blankets to cover the BFG, we got changin’ bags, snacks and raisins stuck to the roof lining for added street credibility… For real”.

Bear in mind that I haven’t even mentioned a pushchair or, heaven forbid you’re going away for a weekend, your own luggage and in our case, dogs (to be clear, not dogs in our case). With this in mind, it really is worth making that leap to a big sensible car. It makes life so much easier not having to shoehorn all of your gear into the back of a Mini every time you need to go out. And if you can afford a 4×4 or something a little taller, you might just save a few trips to the chiropractor…

FYI – this isn’t our car, it’s Fenh’s. Not sure about his private plate though…

Nappy Negotiation

At the age of 31 I changed my first nappy. To be clear, this was my son’s nappy, not mine. To be even clearer, I don’t wear a nappy. Now we have cleared that up, allow me to share a few useful tips that I have picked up on this poo paved road….

Preparation

Being well prepared is the single best piece of advice I have to offer. Whether it’s a nappy change, bath time or bedtime, preparation probably has the biggest impact on how much of a jibbering, shitty fingered wreck you will (or won’t) be afterwards. The main points to note here are:Preparation

  1. Make sure you have all the required equipment ready. The two minutes prepping your changing station/bag after each change is a must and will save you untold grief. Think about it, you wouldn’t expect a Formula 1 driver to pull into the pit only for the mechanic to be like “ooh, now where did I put that spanner?” In simple terms, being well prepared will put you in the best possible position to avoid any potential shit shower.
  2. Picking the right nappy – this might sound too obvious but bear with me… A good nappy can mean the difference between a nappy change and a whole outfit change (potentially for both of you). Every child is different, from the size and shape of them to the amount they pee and poo so it should come as no surprise that a nappy that works well for one child doesn’t necessarily work as well for another. Try different brands and don’t assume that the most expensive will be the best, and don’t assume that the same brand will continue to be the best whilst they grow (we switched at about 12 months).
  3. Get that fresh nappy opened up, laid out and ready to go before you even think about removing the dirty one. Nothing gets the heart pounding like frantically trying to unfold a nappy with one hand whilst holding your child’s hands away from their shitty arse with the other.
  4. Wet wipes at the ready – get these lifesavers out before you start and lay one over them to act as a pee shield. If it’s a number two then take out how many you would normally use then take out three more (you can always put them back in if you don’t use them) unfold them and lay them out so they’re ready to swoop into action when you need them. You might think that laying the wet wipes out in advance is going a bit far but trust me, once you’ve tried to pull a single wet wipe out of the packet with one hand and ended up with about 15 stuck together that you can’t separate, you’ll be glad of those nicely laid out wet wipes.

Timing

Much like a paramedic, response time is critical. Respond too soon and you’ll risk getting sprayed/pebble-dashed halfway through the change, as you come to the crushing realisation that they hadn’t quite finished, and as we all know a poop halfway through a change is right up there with leaving a pizza in the oven for too long in terms of disappointments in life. On the flip side, respond too late and you could have some Chernobyl-esque fallout on your hands that’s clung to your child’s behind, back and neck like some sort of industrial strength super glue. To enable your sixth ‘poop’ sense you need to get to know your child’s toilet schedule like your local pub’s opening hours. To make this as easy as possible ensure that you get into a rigid military-like feeding schedule. Feeding your little one at the same times every day will lead to a toilet schedule that you can set your watch by (to be clear, this is just a turn of phrase, I do not recommend you set your watch to anyone’s bowel movements, use GMT or your iPhone/android device). Get this right and you’ll be a true giant among nappy changing men.

Distraction

This part is crucial as no matter how well you’ve prepared, if your child manages to quickly grab a handful of turd and smear Rambo-style markings across their face, then all bets are off. Before you get started ensure you have some distraction tools to hand. Now, I’m not talking about their favourite toy, it just needs to be something they don’t usually get hold of. It could be the most boring thing in the world to you but to them, it is an interesting and forbidden artefact. A classic in our house is a bottle of bedtime lotion or tub of Sudocrem. These types of distraction are ideal as if your child manages to dunk them into the nappy of doom, they’re wipe clean, unlike their favourite Iggle Piggle cuddly toy…

Speed

Whilst this may seem obvious it is, in my view, one of the most important parts of a stress free nappy change. The quicker you can do it, the less likely they are to get upset, roll over, pee on you etc, the list goes on. But remember, just like any piece of DIY, a rushed nappy will only come back to bite you on the arse, so do it quickly, but do it right. And importantly, if you have a little boy make sure their old chap is facing south when that nappy goes on (this alone will reduce wet through nappies by at least half). Unfortunately, like any top athlete, if you want to be the best then you have to put in the work and practice really does make perfect so embrace these tips and hone your craft. Pretty soon you will be a nappy changing tour de force, earning brownie points galore that can be spent on trips to the pub and days out with the boys.

Disclaimer

A few minor points to clarify before I leave you:

  1. This is not a paint by numbers, one size fits all guide. Unfortunately, nappies are like fingerprints, they are unique to the owner and no two in the world are the same so roll with the punches and you’ll get there in the end.
  2. This guide is for standard, run of the mill dirty nappies. For exploding ones, there is no helping you, you’re on your own, deal with it and get hosed down after.
  3. I learnt most of this from Kate.