Toddler Tales: Nappy Bowling, Anyone?
Back in 2005 when the eldest was still in nappies, (a whole age ago), the husband and I had a particular game that we played in those heady early days of newborn exhaustion and euphoria. Bearing in mind we live in the Northwest of England where it rains almost as much as the monsoon season of any tropical clime, we sometimes had a bit of an issue with nappy sack disposal.
We always put Grace’s nappies (double or sometimes triple bagged for safety) in the outside bin, regardless of whether they were a number 1 or a number 2. However, if it was raining (and I’m a little bit mortified to be confessing this in public), we used to have a bit of a challenge of throwing it from the kitchen door to the wheelie bin (a distance of about 6ft), yes I know the shame of it, but in our defence we didn’t get out much! The winner was declared to be the one who managed to land the nappy sack perfectly on top of the bin. Now before anyone makes any judgements about us, this game says more about our unusual sense of humour than it does about our sense of decency and cleanliness! We didn’t play it for very long as you will see.
One particularly rainy weekend day, we were both at home and the time came to change little one’s nappy. I did the deed (well actually she did the deed, but you know what I mean!), double wrapped the nappy and went to the back door to play our own version of nappy bowling. At this point I feel I must state that firstly, I am a little bit competitive and secondly, I clearly don’t know my own strength! I took my aim, gave a massive swing and watched with great pride as the nappy bag flew through the air. It was a beautiful shot worthy of an English cricketer at Lords. Only, it was too good, my pride soon turned to horror as I watched the lovely peach coloured ‘scented’ double wrapped bag of my daughter’s wee fly over the wheelie bin and continue it’s prolonged trajectory into the neighbour’s garden!
I flew back into the lounge where the husband was playing with our little baby, my face was white and my heart was pounding. ‘You’ll never guess what just happened!’ I said as fast as I could. He looked up, saw my worried face and immediately looked concerned ‘What’s happened’ he asked. ‘I’ve just managed to bowl Grace’s nappy into next door’s garden,’ I said by now panic-stricken. He stood up (serious stance required) ‘You’ve what?’ ‘I didn’t know my own strength and gave rather an enthusiastic throw and it cleared the bin and the fence and has ended up in the garden.’ At this point we both laughed nervously each thinking the same thing. The neighbour’s kitchen window faced out over their garden and our side fence from whence the offending projectile would have appeared. Our neighbours spend a lot of time in their kitchen and their garden. Luckily due to the bad weather we knew they wouldn’t be in the garden, but what would their reaction have been to see the peach bag come flying over and landing flat in their garden. By this point I was completely mortified, how were we going to get out of this one?
I ran upstairs to check the exact location of the offending (or should that be offensive bag) and spotted it immediately in the corner of the garden. Going back down to husband we discussed our options. It seemed that there were only two, go round and ask for our nappy sack back or lift the fence and crawl commando style into the garden to retrieve our rubbish. I had already disregarded the husband’s suggestion of leaving it there, mainly because we lived in an area of retirees and we were the only couple with a baby for miles around. We would have been busted by the geriatric Home Guard in no time.
Whilst I liked the idea of lifting the fence, it has to be explained that we didn’t really know the neighbours that well and I didn’t fancy tiptoeing across the garden with the neighbour coming out and wondering what we were doing. Technically they didn’t even live in the same road as their house backed onto the side of ours, so we had not had that many chats over the fence and certainly not along the lines of ‘You couldn’t just chuck that nappy sack over could you, thanks awfully!’ Either way I still felt we would have to come clean about the reasons why one of our daughter’s nappies was now residing on their lawn.
I got all my courage together and decided to go round and ‘fess up. I drove round as it was faster, the last thing I wanted was for them to come out and even more mortifyingly just throw it back over. As I drove round I had that feeling you have when you have to go to the nasty neighbour’s for your ball back. I was immediately transformed back to being 8 years old and having to ask Mr Grumpy on the next avenue for our ball. I pulled myself together thinking I’m 34 years old for heaven’s sake and I’ve got a responsible job, a house and a baby and erm, I’ve just bowled a nappy sack into the neighbour’s garden!
I got round to their house took a deep breath and got my story straight ‘Hi, I’m J from across the fence, terribly sorry to bother you but I was throwing a nappy sack at the bin, it missed and has landed in your garden. Can I have it back?’ Sounded reasonable enough.
By the time I’d got to ring the doorbell my heart was pounding and I felt a bit faint. I am naturally a little shy about situations like this (well not that I am often to be found knocking on someone’s door asking for a rogue nappy sack back) so I just wanted it to be over with. I rang the doorbell and heard it echo down the hall. I stood and waited like a nervous schoolgirl. No-one came. I rang the doorbell again just to be sure. Still no-one came. There was no-one home! I walked down the path like I’d just scored the winning goal at Wembley. Quickly back in my car, I drove back home ready to put husband onto plan B.
Of course it would have been pretty classy to have lowered him down by a winch Mission Impossible style, but we had to make do with lifting the fence panel up, him scooting across the lawn like a squirrel, swooping in on the ‘prize’ and returning back to the safety of our garden. All in all it took 5 mins. Once it was complete, we put the nappy sack in it’s rightful place (the wheelie bin of course) and went back inside where we both laughed hysterically at what had just happened and vowing never to play nappy bowling again.
So sadly that was the end of my career as a competitive nappy bowler, although if they ever make it an Olympic sport, I may consider coming out of retirement.