The thought of gloving up and sticking my entire arm up a cow’s bum probably put paid to my childhood ambition of being a vet.
Some two decades on, who’d have thought I’d not only be lacking the animal doctor gig but still getting what must be close to the close-up cow encounter, sans glove.
Not having any practical experience of the grim task, I can’t say for sure – but I’m fairly certain feeding Albie his first Bourbon biscuit did a fine job of replicating it.
Bourbon biscuits, for those unfamiliar with them, are little rectangular chocolate biscuits. They’re probably the nice ones your Nan offered you on the rare occasion she’d run out of stale shortbread.
They might be little but any parent who’s been through weaning will tell you that with any foodstuff, you can apply a rough formula. Take the surface area of the item your baby’s about to get their podgy mitts on, times it by a factor of around 20 and you can mark out the exclusion zone required to avoid the upcoming scene of absolute devastation.
This is a pretty standard equation. One strawberry plus a toothless tot equals a t-shirt of sticky pink goo. A pinch of baked beans on an IKEA high chair tray equals a Psycho shower scene. It’s all relative.
Bourbons, it turns out, are the only creation which thus far takes one look at the formula and says ‘You’re going to need shedloads of Bourbon to get over this recovery mission’.
We know Albie’s not the tidiest of beings. Why would he be? He’s an inquisitive baby who wants to touch, smear and paste his face with anything that comes near him – when he’s not occupied with his manly bits which he’s just discovered, of course.
The usual tactic is to remove anything from him which could be caught in the crossfire, run a precautionary bath and plonk him in his highchair. This time, though, we chose the kamikaze option and decided a quick bourbon biscuit could be consumed on Daddy’s lap.
Some time later, having reduced said biscuit to a grainy mush, the boy was caked in it head to toe, while Daddy’s arms, resolutely white despite baking in the Ibiza sun and this horrendous heatwave, looked like they had compensated for this with half a ton of St Tropez Self Tan Classic Bronzing Mousse.
Maybe I’ll take the cow’s bum exam, after all!
So if you’re about to embark on your baby’s food journey, especially the baby-led kind, expect a lot of mess, a spike in your water bills through extra baths and don’t dress them (or yourself) in Sunday-best Ralph Lauren threads. And maybe lay off the bourbons until they’ve got a few gnashers…