Friday, 11 September 2015

How to change a nappy on a train: a cautionary tale

In a desperate attempt to keep this blog sort of fresh (unlike most of the food I'm trying, am I right?), I  thought I'd branch out a bit and try give some general parenting advice/ramble on about crap. So, today, a cautionary tale about changing a nappy on a long distance train.

Travelling with a toddler can be a great experience, opening their little minds to new ideas and places. More commonly, however, it's treading a fine line between a tolerable experience, or absolute disaster. Last year, before Emily had reached the age of being a viable foetus, we decided to take one and a half year old Luke, who was just developing an enviable vocabulary, to visit his Aunty Lizzie in Canberra. After negotiating the trans-Tasman flight without too much difficulty, we thought a 3 hour train ride would be of little challenge. Little did Dad know.

We were seated in a reasonably packed carriage in the middle of the train, with entrances and bathrooms at both ends. After a few stops, a self-important looking gentleman took a seat across the aisle from us, probably off for a weekend with his piece on the side out of town, or to the kangaroo markets, or whatever Australians do for fun.

About twenty minutes on, a slightly pungent smell touched on the nostrils. My first hope was that possibly Mr Haughty Playaway opposite us had let one rip. But sure enough, not twenty seconds later, young Luke piped up confidently and loudly with 'Daddy, I've done big poo! Need new nappy!'

We weren't getting out of it. I got up, picked up my malodorous son, and headed for the end of the carriage nearest the engine, where I assumed I would find at least a toilet. I did, but the space within which it was enclosed was possibly the size of a modest coffee table. I put the lid down, stood Luke up, and wedged myself in before closing the door. It would have to be a standing nappy change. I managed to take down the offensive undergarment, and realised that Luke was correct, it was big. And loose, on account of the copious amounts of local watermelon he had been sampling over the preceding days. And it had tracked: up the back, down the legs.

Half a packet of wet wipes later, the dirty nappy was in the bin, Luke smelled, if not sweeter then at least bland, and i was feeling pretty happy with my dexterous baby change skills. We headed back to the seat, just as Mr Uppity McScrewaround passed us heading for the door, giving me a long, judgemental look on the way past. Back in the four seater bay, Luke soon fell asleep. I sniffed. Something still was hitting my smell centres in an unpleasant way. I looked down, and saw what had obviously offended our promiscuous travel buddy upon his departure: a pungent, brown stain had reached it's way down my brand new rust coloured Kathmandu hoody, sending off the stench that was still permeating our end of the not unpacked carriage. I wore a raincoat the rest of the journey, the offending garment tightly wrapped in a plastic bag.

Anyway, about half an hour later, Rachel got up to use the toilet. On her return, she informed me there was a large bathroom at the opposite end of the carriage, complete with full baby change facilities. So I suppose the moral is, if you're travelling with a baby or toddler, make sure you know where to change them before the need arises.

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