Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge



Okay, you’ve never witnessed another person defecate up close and you don’t want to hear about it either? That’s understandable. I can respect that. But I will say this: Play-Doh Fun Factory. Ha ha. Ruined your lunchtime, did I? Oh, I’m sorry… Welcome to my world motherfuckers. I’ve previously described how disgusting I find the nappy changing process. “An ordeal that demeans both parties,” I believe were my exact words. But actually, that was only right at the beginning. Once you’ve changed a couple hundred of these suckers, you really could care less.

Nine times out of ten, the child only wets herself. That’s nothing. And even when the nappy is full of shit, it’s really not that bad. It’s baby crap. One wipe with a bit of kitchen roll takes care of 95% of it. After that, it’s routine housekeeping.

In terms of ordeals then, nappy changing is usually a much more benign experience than, say, getting vomited on, not being able to go anywhere or do anything, and the crying. The nonstop, spirit-crushing, soul-destroying crying. At home, in the supermarket, on the M4. Rattling through your skull even after the child has gone to sleep or been pacified.

Well, that’s usually the case anyway. But today is an exception. We’re midway through changing her nappy, when Lola unexpectedly vomits up the entire bottle I’ve just given her. We’re in my mother’s house and I have her on a plastic changing mat on the guest bed. The milk runs down the plastic onto the guilt covers. It’s all over her clothes and inside the changing bag. I use what’s left of the kitchen roll mopping it up, but it’s no good. It’s everywhere.

Then the shitting starts. I’m putting Sudocrem on her when it begins. She’s laid out vertically, feet towards me, so it squirts right at me. She’s recently started taking small quantities of mashed up carrot as well as milk, so the crap thicker and fouler smelling than anything I’d previously experienced. She’s also kicking pretty furiously, so the shit gets on her feet and, from there, on pretty much everything else. And it’s doesn’t stop.

There is no kitchen roll left. I can’t pick her up because there’s still shit coming out of her. But I can’t leave her unattended. My phone is in the other room.

This is the stuff post-traumatic stress disorders are made of.

Two of my sisters (Lola’s mother and her aunt) are downstairs. I need to call for their help. And I need to call for their help urgently. But I’ve got to pitch it just right. They’re in the kitchen with the door closed and the radio on. So it’s got to be loud. Too loud though, too urgent, and my sister will think her child is in danger. Her protective maternal instincts will kick in and we’re in David Attenborough territory. No one wants that. Not loud enough though, not urgent enough, and they’ll think Lola is just pulling a cute face or something. They’ll say, Take a picture. We’ll look at it later.

So its gotta be just right.

Of course, this entire calculation is processed in a split second and what comes out of my mouth ends up being something like


They bound up the stairs and burst into the room. But by then its all over. The (literal) shitstorm has ended. Lola’s mother soothes her child. My other sister opens the window. It’s a fucking mess alright. I’ve no idea how we’ll clean it up. But it’s no longer my responsibility. I’ve relinquished command. I need to sit down. If it were up to me, we’d move house. Live in a caravan or something. I don’t care. Anything to get away from this.

December 18th, 2009.


  1. awhhhh Says:

    That is the cutest,bonniest baby ever! she should be on the cutest baby cow and gate commercials

  2. Eoin Says:

    Uh, is that you Dan?

  3. Wordpress/Joomla pseudo-integration(ish) Says:

    […] other news, I read this post on Eoin Butlers blog, and added it to the growing pile of anecdotal and empirical evidence that my […]

  4. tad Says:

    Eoin: Babies certainly can be … productive. Been there….
    Speaking of productive, everything U’ve written (that I’ve read) about taking care of kids is hilarious — any parent can relate. Couple dozen of these & U’ll have a book — which, judging by yr previously-posted interview, is probably part of yr plan 4 world domination, yes? — TAD.

  5. Lisa Says:

    Hahaha great piece Eoin! Lola is gorgeous!

  6. Rob Says:

    Any idea what you had her watching in the pic there? Whatever it is, it looks astonishing!

  7. Eoin Says:

    Thanks Lisa!

    No idea Rob, she tends to like primary colours and things that change colour – so I’d guess either the Simpsons or the Christmas tree.

  8. Go Speed Dater, Go | Tripping Along The Ledge Says:

    […] ever endured. I’ve had this thing since Monday morning and was terrified that, since I picked my niece Lola up from the creche on Monday afternoon, I might have passed it on to her. Now it looks more likely […]

  9. Deirdre Murphy Says:

    What a gorgeous little baby!!…you were saying??

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