I wrote this piece three years ago to the day. With a Six Nations weekend nearly upon us it seems an opportune time to relive past triumphs. And disasters.
Three years on, the child, dog and parent are all still alive and well. I ripped up the patio though.
I have no doubt that many of my Welsh brethren went through the same agonies and ecstasies as I experienced during the Six Nations clash with England on Saturday.
I have no doubt that many of my Welsh brethren threw every pass, made every tackle and dived over the try line with one arm raised aloft from the comfort of their own armchair.
I have no doubt that many of my Welsh brethren stopped breathing for the eternity it took for the video ref to rightly conclude the inconclusive in the small matter of England grounding the ball for a try and then start breathing again with a nervous chuckle as Steve Walsh somehow forgot he was playing advantage to England prior to the move and inexplicably blew the final whistle.
I have no doubt that many of my Welsh brethren had tears in their eyes as Captain Sam walked the steps at HQ to collect the Triple Crown trophy in England’s backyard.
I do however doubt that many, if indeed any, of my Welsh brethren had been forced to pause the game at a crucial point in the second half after being the victim of a Dirty Sanchez from a two year old.
Perhaps I should expand a little on that last bold statement.
It had all been going so well…my lovely wife was in Joburg for the day leaving us boys to have a boys’ weekend. Much fun had been had, and for once Dad was a very organised chap prior to kick off and had not only showered the boy, but had prepared his supper, taken the dog for a walk and poured himself a beer.
The game had started promisingly enough. Wales were an ankle tap away from George North ripping through for a try in the opening minutes and were looking patient, disciplined and hungry for success. Rhys was also hungry by half time (or “NummNEEEEE” if you are approaching 2 years old) and so I popped him in his chair and brought him his food.
That was when the screaming started.
And when I say screaming, I really do mean screaming – as in waking the dead type screaming.
Being the switched on father that I am it took me but a moment to realise that the source of the screaming was from Rhys’ nether regions (well the source of the pain at least – if his arse had actually started screaming I would have been even more concerned) and he was wriggling in his seat like a small wriggling child (note to self: simile work required).
I immediately picked him up and rushed him to the bedroom where I discovered that the poor little guy had clearly made some sort of highly acidic poo in his nappy and had had butt cheeks the colour of my Welsh jersey. Much cream was applied (Calendula makes the screaming worse, Bennett’s bum cream and a dummy (in the mouth) works better it seems) but there was no way Rhys was allowing another nappy anywhere near him.
So I let him run around naked for a while. What could possibly go wrong?
To be honest not a lot for the first twenty minutes or so. The tears had dried and been replaced by smiles, the dog was being chased and life was generally good.
I did notice at one point that he had gone outside but I will admit in a shockingly bad parent kind of a way that I was keeping an eye or two on the rugby. I did react quickly when I heard the words “Daddeee…owweeeee” though (I put my beer down and paused the TV in one movement).
As I looked behind me to the patio outside I could see Rhys walking towards me looking very forlorn. In the background glinting slightly in the afternoon sun I could see a very large pile of very orange and nasty looking poo. What I didn’t see in my haste to pick Rhys up and give him a cuddle was the poo on his leg.
Well, that and the poo on his foot.
Well, both of those and the fistful of poo that was slapped in to my upper lip, left nostril and left cheek to be honest.
At that point I just shut down and went into survival mode really as you would expect.
I managed to get him to the room with no further transfer of poo and after plonking him down on his mat I dealt with the situation in an appropriate manner – i.e. I cleaned my face first before even attempting to help him. It’s kind of like the oxygen mask thing on a plane “affix your own mask first before helping others”. Besides, vomiting on him probably wouldn’t have improved his mood.
Eventually after much wet wipe action and all thoughts of leaving the room without a nappy banished we were on our way back to the living room to watch the end of the game and read the Gruffalo for the 400th time that day.
What happened next will stay with me for some time.
In a matter of milliseconds I realised that all the horrible stories they tell you about dogs is true.
Yes…you’ve guessed it…Pepper the puppy had finished off her fruits de merde starter portion and was tucking in to the main course.
The next few minutes passed in a blur of activity – me hosing the patio, me hosing the dog and Rhys generally hosing himself.
I watched the end of the Welsh game in a post traumatic stressed stupor. I watched the events unfold with near dispassion while tonelessly mouthing the words “A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood…”.
As it turned out I remained in this state for some time – certainly beyond the final whistle and putting Rhys to bed. It would take something truly extraordinary to shake me back to life and in true man’s best friend style…Pepper delivered.
As a parting note let me just say that if you think being Sanchezed by an infant is bad, or if you think watching a dog devouring baby poo on a patio is bad you’re going to have a very tough time when that same dog curls up next to your feet a little while later and yawns in your direction…