"I'm really looking forward to Saturday" my wife says, as she wipes the baby sick from her third top of the day. "Me Too" I say, without any eye contact and a little too quickly for my wife's liking. "What's the matter?" she says, looking up at me, unaware of the latest addition to her top. "Nothing, it's just............."
Now here's what it really is. It's our first family holiday together and we are staying in a log cabin in the New Forest. Charlotte is now 5 months old and while being able to hold her own head, she's not quite got to grips with holding the contents of her milky stomach. Here comes part of the problem.
To get through one day, we need three complete sets of baby clothes, six muslin's (Baby cloths to mop up sick) three tops for my wife and, because we felt sorry for the sales woman at the baby show, six washable nappies. That's one day. We are going for seven. Seven whole days.
We only own ten muslins and twenty washable nappies and although my wife seems to have a wardrobe the size of Belgium, I'm told she only has eight decent tops.
That means a lot of washing. That means washing clothes every other day. Fine, I'm ok with doing a few chores on holiday, we'll all muck in, it'll be fun, it'll be like camping with the scouts, we'll all have set jobs, my wife will sort, I'll load, my wife will hang and I'd put away what could be better than.......... "I can't believe it, there's no washing Machine!" I said as I checked the particulars of our booking.
"It's a log cabin, not a pent house suite!" There's now genuine panic etched across my face.
It had taken me thirty years to get to understand truly how a washing machine works and that clean clothes were not down to an elaborate conspiracy between mothers and elves.
"We'll just have to use the Launderette!" she said. I'd like to say that my lovely little anecdote finished there. I'd like to say that I agreed, that that was a fantastic idea and that was what we would do. I'd like to, but I can't.
I can't because as she said those words, I followed them up, very quickly..... too quickly, stupid, stupid, stupidly quickly with the following words. "I'd rather wash her stinking nappies and her rotten, sick covered baby cloths by hand, than use a public launderette!" "Ok" she said. And that was it. I've never washed anything by hand.
I struggled through my mid teens to wash myself and suddenly I've signed up for the daddy of hand washing assignments. I swore under my breath. (Think Nappies) So when she asked me today what the matter was, I told her. "Nothing, it's just.............. I think I injured my wrist at work today"
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