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Gentle Ben completes Gentleman’s Family

Benjamin Cousins entered the world at 2.21pm on Monday, April 8 weighing 7 lbs 10 oz.

He was always going to end up the subject of at least one of my columns so what better time to take the hand out of him than when he can’t retaliate with pen or sword.

When Lucy was born, although Karen had gone into natural labour, the delivery had to be made by emergency caesarean section. This time round we knew it was going to be a c-section. We even knew what date it would be on and roughly what time. It meant our hospital visit was a lot more relaxed than the last time. It involved a lot of waiting around for Karen to be called into theatre, following by a swift burst of activity including a numbing injection, a horizontal slice across the midriff and a little baby boy being yanked out to greet the world.

I found it surreal that, in the theatre, Karen was able to carry out a perfectly normal conversation without a hair out of place while the surgeons rummaged around in her tummy in search of a baby.

Hours after Ben’s express delivery a lot of terminology I’d learnt at the time of Lucy’s birth came flooding back. Terms like meconium and colostrum, which you’d be forgiven for assuming were robots from the Transformers franchise, returned to my vocabulary.

Meconium is what the baby’s first ‘number two’ is made up of. It’s black and sticky and looks like something an adult would create if they’d spent a day on the Guinness.

I was on hand to change Ben’s first meconium-filled nappy and eventually stem the flow of the tar-like substance from the young man’s bottom. There was enough of it to resurface our driveway. I couldn’t have been more proud of Cuzzy Junior. I took a picture of his handiwork on my phone, but surprisingly very few people have shown as much of an interest in it as myself.

Meconium’s partner in crime, colostrum, is the early ‘immunising’ milk the baby gets from its mother before the semi-skimmed variety kicks in. I’ve already tread a fine line with poo jokes so I’m not going to milk it with any breastfeeding gags.

After reacquainting ourselves with meconium and colostrum we turned our attention to Benjamin, who for his first two days on this planet was nameless. After careful deliberation we decided that his birth certificate would bear the full title Benjamin but the plan is to call him Ben for as long as he’ll respond to it. Like his father he has no middle name though that’s not to say people wont call him other names, like they do his father.

Some of you may be wondering what Lucy has made of the whole thing.

On day two when Lucy came to visit she took one look at her little brother then turned 180 degrees and pointed to an object on the opposite wall. ‘Tock’ she said.

Lucy’s current obsession is with clocks. She can’t pass one without pointing at it and saying ‘tock’. I suppose, for Lucy’s sake, we could always let on we’d named her brother after the world’s most famous clock - Big Ben.

After the initial snubbing of her brother in favour of a clock, Lucy seems to have twigged that he’s here to stay and early indications suggest she’s alright with it. She can point to Ben and locate his mouth, nose and eyes, but only under careful supervision. She’ll probably grow up thinking his name is ‘Gentle’ given that’s what we say every time she goes near him.

Since Ben’s birth a lot of people have used the phrase ‘Gentleman’s Family’. It’s a term I’d never heard before. Since April 8 about 500 people have said it to me. Okay, so I’m exaggerating. About seven or eight people have said it, but because it was new to me it felt like more.

The first person to say it was the midwife who congratulated me saying, “You’ve got a gentleman’s family”. I thought she was paying me a compliment until I realised ‘Gentleman’s Family’ is a term given to having one child of each sex.

I should have realised she was not referring to me as a gentleman.

A gentleman is not someone who has a picture on his mobile phone of his child’s first bowel movement.

Weekly teaser

The answer to last week’s teaser was: Church - the six-letter word with the same pair of letters in places 1 and 5, a different pair in places 2 and 6 and a ‘u’ in between.

Here’s this week’s teaser: Two dogs are having a conversation. The first dog says, “Do you realize that if one of your fleas jumped onto me we would have the same number of fleas?” The second says, “Yes, but if one of your fleas jumped onto me I would have five times as many as you.” How many fleas are on each dog to begin with?