The Winter Vomiting Bug

If you want to know about the aetiology of the Winter Vomiting Bug – or stomach bug, norovirus, rotavirus, gastroenteritis, or whatever the hell else you might want to call it – then read on, for I am now an expert.

First, despite the name ‘Winter Vomiting Bug’, you need to be aware that it doesn’t limit itself to just one end of the body – the explosions can come from pretty much anywhere it chooses, and often both places at once. Also, it isn’t restricted to winter – it crept into our house in the spring, and returned to provide some entertainment in time for Halloween, which is really autumn. In fact, since the name ‘Winter Vomiting Bug’ is only a third accurate, it should really be called the ‘Anytime Puking Squits Bug’, because that’s exactly what it is.

What are the symptoms? As you can gather from the (new) name, it causes guts ache, vomiting and diarrhoea. In this current manifestation, the vomit is rather neat and tidy, taking the form of a solid mass wrapped in a transparent sac of phlegm – kind of like boil-in-the-bag fish, only with more carrots. And a real powerful aroma of fermented apples, like the cider bums that sit on park benches.

I know this because when my darling daughter started to vomit at 1am while sitting in the centre of the carpet, there was nothing in range to grab, so I had to catch it in my hands. This is one of the unexpected pleasures of parenthood. But she seemed instantly more comfortable in herself, so that’s a plus.

Meanwhile, the diarrhoea is – well, diarrhoea. There’s not a lot else to say. A slightly sweet, fruity bouquet, but otherwise exactly as you’d expect.

What is the disease progression? Within twelve hours (of catching vomit in your hands), you get a real bad case of stomach cramps, relieved by burps that taste of fermented apples (at which point, you go, ‘Oh crap, I’ve caught it!). Over the next few hours, the cider burps develop an aftertaste of bacon. Gradually, these burps become more frequent and lose the apple taste altogether, now reminding you of those little burnt bits on the bottom of fried eggs. And then, as it starts to feel as though you’ve swallowed a sea urchin shell that’s rolling around in your stomach, you realise you’re going to be sick, and that as soon as you have you’ll feel better, but it’s going to be a while yet.

What’s the incubation period? I have this down – 23 hours, 37 minutes. Because that is precisely how long it took between getting vomit on my hands to experiencing the pleasure for myself. It is a particularly violent form of retching – my wife Lizzie ran around in a panic screaming ‘you’re going to die, you’re going to die!’ – and it feels like someone is smacking you in the gut with a sledgehammer, but as soon as you’re done you feel as though you could run a marathon – albeit, a marathon with regular toilet stops as the other end remains a little unpredictable.

How long does it last? Now the good news: about a day. The vomiting/diarrhoea explosions are fairly concentrated into a period lasting between a few minutes to a few hours. It’s a long time coming, but once it hits and it’s over and done with, you feel much better. Admittedly, you wonder why you can’t remember being kicked in the stomach by an entire rugby team, but it’s much easier after the explosions than before. The fragile belly lingers for a few days after, and you’ll have plenty of loose stools, but eventually it fades.

Is it contagious? Oh God yes. My wife had it first, about two hours before my daughter, so I had to tend to both at the same time. I used anti-bacterial soap and scalding water every couple of minutes, especially after handling vomit and poop and every time when moving from one patient to the other, but I still managed to catch it.

What’s the long-term prognosis? An aversion to cider. Red skin on your hands. An intimate knowledge of the inside of your toilet bowl. And, if you’re anything like my daughter, a chesty cough and cold that leaves you snotty and spluttering and miserable for at least a week.

The other night she woke up screaming 21 times. Sixteen times I dragged myself out of bed, put her dummy back in, placed her on her belly, rubbed her back until she was soothed, and stayed with her until she was snoring again. Which, for the mathematicians among you, means a deficit of five. On those occasions, I lay abed in a soporific daze, battling to claw my way up to reality, unable to rise in the five or so minutes it took her to ‘self-soothe’ a.k.a. cough and scream herself to sleep.

So this, in a nutshell, is the Winter Vomiting Bug/Anytime Puking Squits Bug. If you know anyone who has it, avoid them like the plague, for they are carrying the plague – a plague of disgustingness you don’t want to unleash upon your family. Although, telling people you’re contagious is a great way to keep the neighbours from bothering you…

The Circle of Life

They say that life is what happens while you’re making other plans, and they’re definitely not wrong. I had this week planned out in fine detail. I have to: I’m getting married on Saturday. So there is an awful lot to do and I couldn’t afford any hiccups.

You can guess where this is going.

When you’re a dad, hiccups go with the territory. I expected a few things to crop up. I hadn’t imagined that life, death, birth, suicide and viral gastroenteritis would feature quite so prominently, however.

It started Monday. I was already up against it as I had my stag-do that night, when, driving home along a country lane, I saw a ball of white fluff wandering down the middle of the road. Since it’s a busy road and people drive like maniacs, I stopped to move it out of traffic, when I realised it was something I really couldn’t leave to get run over.

There were no trees about – just bushes – and those on the other side of a ditch, and if I left it in a random hedge there was no way it’d survive. Now I know you’re supposed to leave balls of fluff alone, but these were extenuating circumstances. So I did what I thought was best – I picked it up and I put it in my car.

I had no clue what it was, but given it had a hooked beak and long, sharp talons, I had a fairly good guess.

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Any ideas?

Since the last bird of prey I tried to rescue didn’t make it, I was determined that this one would. Luckily a few miles down the road is an owl, raptor and reptile sanctuary, so I took it there. Turns out it was a barn owl chick, far too young to be out of the nest. They’re going to get him well and then find a nest with similar aged chicks and slip him in, to be raised by a surrogate mother back in the wild.

My good deed for Monday was done – but it ate up a massive chunk of the day.

On Tuesday, I did a few wedding-related things like writing my groom’s speech, but I have to confess to being distracted all day by the wrens nesting two feet outside the back door. Every three or four minutes they return to the box with an insect, whereuopon three very hungry chicks lean chirping out of the hole. I guess I don’t have to watch them, but it’s hard not to when they’re so busy from sun up – around half-four in the morning – right the way through to after sunset – gone nine-thirty at night.

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Industrious little buggers

Part of the reason I couldn’t look away was this whole parenting thing. I couldn’t help feeling a kinship with these tiny little birds looking after their kids, sacrificing their time and energy to care for their young ones around the clock. I admired them their energy, and felt it needed to be acknowledged, if only through my observation. And if I’m honest, I wondered if I’d be able to cope if I had to expend so much effort on my child as they did on theirs.

The answer wasn’t long in coming.

I put the baby to bed as usual around seven Tuesday night. At ten came the most horrible sound, and when I rushed in there I found little Izzie soaked in vomit. I picked her up and, my god, she was burning up! With a temperature of 38.6, I gave her some Calpol, two hours of TLC, got her to bed shortly after midnight, and checked on her every two hours.

By six o’clock this morning she was 39.1 degrees and very unhappy. It’s awful, knowing she’s unwell but unable to do much about it. So many thoughts and possibilities run through your mind, and after so few hours sleep, you jump to worst case scenarios.

I spoke to a doctor at 8.30, saw her at 11, when Izzie was 39.3, and was sent straight to the hospital so she could be assessed. And that was just the start of six hours of shenanigans.

Izzie was the most distressed I’ve ever seen her, and Lizzie almost as bad. As the stable presence in their lives, I have to take it in my stride, act confident and calm, reassure them that everything’s okay and we’ll deal with whatever happens, even though inside I’m just as churned up. Watching Izzie get poked and prodded and howl like a banshee must rank up there as one of the least comfortable experiences of my life.

Well, worse was to come. They needed a urine sample to test, and despite this being 2016, guess how you get a urine sample from a baby? You sit the over-hot, kicking, squirming, screaming sweetie on your partner’s lap on a waterproof sheet, crouch between their legs with a plastic tub, and get ready to catch whatever comes out.

I always figured that since they’re incontinent, babies drip-drip-dripped, little and often. Nope. They pee just like normal people – when they need to.

So we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

For an hour and three-quarters. Crouched, ready to jump into action in a split second to catch that pee! And true to form, Izzie waited for the doctor to arrive and the precise moment I looked away to make her entrance to the stage. In the event, I got it all over my hands, but managed to salvage enough to test.

Meanwhile, doctors and nurses and mothers and boyfriends came to visit the girl in the bed next to us, a teenager who took an overdose this morning, and, by dint of still being classed as a child, was placed in a bay surrounded by screaming babies.

It’s impossible not to overhear things in a hospital – the curtains aren’t exactly soundproof, after all.

‘Did you intend to kill yourself?’

‘Dunno.’

‘Are you happy you’re still here?’

‘Dunno.’

She gave her mother a pretty hard time, lots of effing and blinding. And as a dad, I thought how odd it was that fourteen years earlier, she’d have been like Izzie, a little girl, an innocent, unsullied, perfect creature. I can’t comprehend how I would feel if in fourteen years time it’s Izzie in that bed following a suicide attempt, telling me to ‘shut up, I just don’t care, leave me alone, I don’t give a f**k.’

The stark contrast really struck me, two girls in two beds, separated by nothing more than a curtain and a few years; one so simple and dependent and full of the joys of spring, the other so complex and cynical and utterly jaded. And I want to cling to Izzie and stop her growing up, retain her innocence at any cost, arrest the passage of time.

But I can’t.

In one bed, we’re planning our futures together; in the other, she could have been dead. She might still be – it was paracetamol and they were waiting to see how much damage she’d done to her organs.

The thing is, in my life I’ve been suicidal. I’ve self-harmed. I’ve always been a little bit crazy. My teens are a blur of high emotions and antidepressants, hidden knives and hidden scars. I’m not always rational. People tell me I’ve said things, done things, and I have no recollection whatsoever. At times of high stress I become paranoid that people can hear my thoughts. I am the girl in the bed beyond the curtain – at least, I was. But I got through it. Saved, as it were, by the love of my family, a stubborn unwillingness to give in, and by the miracle that is my daughter.

I don’t ever want her to grow up like me. Stay this side of the curtain, sweetheart.

Long story short, after I wiped the piss off my hands, we discovered she didn’t have a UTI, and they diagnosed it as viral gastroenteritis. Eventually we were allowed to go home, after eight hours away.

Things have calmed a little this evening – Lizzie and Izzie are both snoring, but the latter wakes up every ten minutes, has a little cry, and drops back off. I’m monitoring temperatures, wiping up diarrhoea, and preparing for another night of broken sleep. In the test of whether I’m as good a parent as a wren, I think I’ve passed.

All day I’ve acted tough. Now the world has gone to sleep I can be honest. I feel tearful. Seeing Izzie going through all that, not knowing what was wrong – I was more scared than anyone can imagine. Because Izzie is my world.

So much has happened this week and it’s only Wednesday! If tomorrow is anything like today, I don’t know what I’ll do. Did I mention I’m getting married in three days?

[EDIT: I have just discovered from the Barn Owl Trust that I did exactly the right thing. It says finding barn owl chicks out of the nest before they can fly is not normal, they are only fed in the nest and parents will ignore one on the ground and leave it to starve to death, they have very little sense of smell and will not reject it if you handle it, and leaving it well alone is usually not the appropriate course of action. On the other hand, if it was a tawny owl chick, you should leave it as it is normal for chicks to be out of the nest before they can fly and parents will feed them anywhere – even on the ground. Barn owl chick = intervene. Tawny owl chick = leave alone. Yay me.]

Sickness bug update, part 2

When I said the tummy bug was over, I was speaking prematurely. We’ve had vomit every day since Thursday – acres and oodles of vomit including this evening, when I was cuddling Izzie close to my chest. Five days of my clothing being drenched in sudden, unexpected barf.

I have run out of trousers to change into!

As milk seemed to trigger bouts of vomiting, we switched to soya milk. That helped us get more fluid into her, because it didn’t seem to upset her. The next couple of days, the vomiting was caused by biscuits, porridge and fruit. But tonight it was caused by the soya milk. So we’re back to square one.

There’s no logic to it. You give her something for breakfast, she wolfs it down – the same thing for lunch, it’s Exorcist time. One minute she’s happy and playing and laughing, the next she’s spewing as though there’s no end to it. I just don’t get it.

Luckily, Lizzie is feeling a little better. I think it’s clear she had viral gastroenteritis/stomach flu/norovirus, which is pretty much all the same thing and lasts a couple of days. It’s highly infectious, so we are truly a plague house. Quite a wonder that I haven’t got it.

I have, however, come down with a heavy cold. My muscles and joints all ache and my head has been spinning for three days. Worse, as a result of the stress throughout the day Saturday, I had such bad indigestion/acid reflux all night, I felt like I was having a heart attack. Since then my chest has felt like I’ve torn every muscle surrounding my heart. But that’s what it means to be a dad – you dig deep and you carry on.

For how much longer – that’s the real question.

Sickness bug update

Somehow, things have become worse. Not for Izzie – provided we don’t give her any milk, she seems right as ninepence – but for her long-suffering parents.

The last few months I’ve been donating platelets at my local blood centre. I’ve been a blood donor for years, but after Izzie’s traumatic birth, I wanted to do more to help people in similar circumstances. Platelets are given to people with leukaemia, those undergoing chemotherapy, and trauma cases who lose a lot of blood. Unlike blood donation, which averages three times a year, you can donate platelets every three to four weeks, so it gives me a chance to put my feet up and relax as my blood is sucked from my body, run through a centrifuge to filter out the butterscotch-yellow platelets, and pumped back in.

Trouble is, not everyone can be a platelet donor as you need an excess of platelets and good strong veins. For every 100 blood donors there is only one platelet donor, and platelets only last seven days so are in constant demand. What’s good about platelet donation, however, is that one 90-minute donation can save three adults or up to twelve children. Last time, my platelets were sent to Birmingham Children’s Hospital, so I can feel good about that.

Anyway, I was due to go in Thursday afternoon. However, after being submerged in Izzie’s vomit, I thought I’d better check to see if they still wanted me or if it was too risky. The consensus was that I had been ‘compromised’ and it was better to err on the side of caution and cancel – I wouldn’t want to pass on a vomiting bug to already sick kids. Though I was asymptomatic, I might come down with it myself. So I gritted my teeth and braced myself for a bout of diarrhoea and vomiting.

If you’ve guessed where this is going, it’s my job to disappoint you. I’m fine. Lizzie, on the other hand, spent all night writhing and moaning, clutching her belly, until at six this morning she tried to make it to the bathroom, failed, and vomited all over the landing. Carpet, doors, walls, the works. So I’m getting to be a dab hand at mopping up sick. Especially as a couple of hours later she vomited all over the bathroom floor.

Today, I am therefore a single dad with two sick children. Here’s hoping I don’t get struck down by the same ailment or I don’t know what we’ll do!

Don’t panic! It’s just a tummy bug.

I’ve mentioned vomit before on this blog, and it’s always been described rather casually. ‘Ha-ha, she threw up over me,’ and suchlike. ‘What a great dad I am: I get puked on and take it in my stride. Yay me!’

Those were purer, more innocent times, the halcyon days before the fall. The fact is, I had no idea what vomiting truly was. The couple of tablespoons of white, milk-like up-chuck, even when tinged with mucus, are nothing – nothing – compared to the end-of-the-world style vomiting of a stomach bug. And having now experienced that, I will never be casual about vomit again.

When Izzie woke crying at four o’clock Thursday morning, her bed sopping wet with sick, my instincts told me something was wrong. She’s not a sicky baby and vomiting overnight is certainly unusual for her. It was, however, just the beginning.

I picked her up, made her some milk, fed it to her, sat her down, and watched as the Gates of Hell opened and spewed forth an ocean of vomit. In all honesty, it was frightening seeing so much liquid propelled so widely from something so small. It formed puddles in her lap and on the carpet, was so bad that even Lizzie got up (unheard of before half-seven) to help change clothing and bedding and mop it off the floor.

After settling Izzie onto newly-clean sheets, I spent the next two hours on the internet becoming an expert on all aspects of childhood vomiting. The main stipulation of the sites I visited was: don’t panic! It’s only vomit. Keep her hydrated, be gentle with her belly, and stop being such a wuss.

Now, being an overprotective (read: hypochondriac) dad, I’ve had to develop a hard and fast rule on baby illness so I don’t turn her into a medical guinea pig that gets rushed to the doctor every two minutes: if she’s happy, playful and eating, and has no obvious signs of illness such as a temperature, blood coming from her ears, or buboes, she’s probably okay. So in the morning when Izzie seemed bright and breezy, we got on as normal. Lots of water to rehydrate her, and oodles of bland milky porridge and a banana to settle her empty stomach.

Slightly neurotic about her dying of thirst, and the ensuing inquest where we’re deemed to have been neglectful parents followed by a media witch hunt that hounds us out of the country, I sat her on my lap on the sofa to give her a top-up of milk. And two minutes later, with a little feminine toss of her head, she exploded all over me.

When I say exploded, I mean that stuff just flew everywhere. I was wearing T-shirt, shirt, trousers, boxer shorts and socks, and the only thing I didn’t have to change were my glasses. The last time I was covered in hot, smelly sick, I was nine years old, wearing blue and white striped pyjamas, and I remember feeling unclean and ashamed. In an instant, I was that child again and unable to move.

I shouted for help, which is what I’d done as a nine-year-old. Unfortunately, Lizzie chose that moment to have one of her autistic episodes – overwhelmed by the knowledge that she couldn’t go to baby group and would have to change her plans, she became angry and overwhelmed, so had to go and have a time-out to calm down. Gee, thanks, honey. It’s not like it’s soaking through to my skin and dripping from my fingertips!

Luckily there was a support worker present, who definitely earned her pay and saw more of me than she probably liked as I peeled off soiled clothing layer by layer then dealt with the baby in just my underwear.

Water was the order of the day. Sips of water, the websites say. No food for about six hours, then small amounts of bland stuff to settle her.

Izzie didn’t act ill, not at all – she was playing with her toys, standing against the furniture and getting up to her usual high-jinks. So mid-afternoon, when she was clearly hungry, I gave her the blandest porridge in the cupboard, which went down a treat, followed by fromage frais and then half a biscotti. She seemed happy as Larry, so I made some milk, sat her on my lap on the sofa and –

Instead of describing in graphic detail what I’ve already covered before (explosion, ‘help!’, oh god it’s so warm and smelly), minus Lizzie’s time-out but including the ‘assistance’ of Ozzie the dog in clearing up, here’s a picture of Izzie with bunny ears:

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Cute

While I was changing into my third set of clothes for the day, Lizzie’s cousin texted us to say her little one had had a similar thing earlier in the week, a 24-hour vomiting bug. Provided you can endure and make sure she drinks plenty, it passes. So armed with this knowledge, we tried to force dioralyte down her throat to rehydrate her (see above about hypochondria), which was a horrible failure, switched back to water, which was a success, and put her to bed.

Today, she seems much better (touch wood), but since the three vomiting episodes were triggered by milk, we’ve avoided risking giving her anything but water. I’ve discovered from my research that babies can develop lactose intolerance from tummy bugs like viral gastroenteritis, meaning milk makes them vomit and you need to give them lactose-free milk for up to four weeks until the gut recovers. Gosh darn it, why do babies always get ill on four-day weekends and bank holidays?

What I’ve learnt from this experience is just how frightening it can be for a parent when their baby keeps vomiting. I mean, at one point I seriously expected her head to rotate three-sixty degrees and Latin phrases to start bursting from her lips. You think it’s going to go on forever, that every drop of water or morsel of food will come back with added force. But it passes. Thank God it passes!

It’s also an eye-opener how vulnerable you can feel when covered in someone else’s vomit. Forget waterboarding, try a baby with a vomiting bug! But on the plus side, there are far fewer poopy nappies to deal with.

One thing’s for certain: I will never be nonchalant about sick ever again!

The Plague House

Paint a red cross on our door and may the Lord have mercy on our souls!

Yes, the dreaded lurgy has come as an uninvited houseguest, like that uncle who always turns up and hangs around in his underwear and refuses to leave. The kind of houseguest who robs you of sleep, disrupts your steady routine, and gets snot on your clothes, and doesn’t even have the common decency to look embarrassed about the shit he’s causing.

Friday night during the power cut, Izzie developed a bit of a cough and sneezed a few times during the night. She woke Saturday morning with a chesty cough and a sniffle and she didn’t want her formula. By mid-afternoon this had developed into a temperature and a full-blown cold.

I say full-blown because she’s definitely acting like it’s the end of the world. But then, for her, it is. She hasn’t had a cold before and it must be terrifying to have litres of yellow-green snot pouring out of every orifice, slipping ceaselessly down your throat, and choking you every time you so much as move your head an inch. And the cough is awful – it sounds like she’s hacking up razor blades, the poor thing!

And so it has been, every minute, every hour, since Saturday. Unfortunately, Lizzie came down with it Friday morning, so she’s a sneezing, coughing, congested wreck who spends most of the time in the bath, drinking Lemsip or sleeping, leaving yours truly to press on solo. Really, this is a one-parent family right now.

The worst thing about all this is the total lack of sleep. The little ‘un panics and starts to scream and choke the second you put her on her back in the cot. Any position involving lying down provokes coughing and spluttering as she starts to drown in her own snot. She will fall into an exhausted stupor, but only on her front on you, leaking from mouth and nose onto your chest or arms or neck, so if you want her to sleep, you have to stay awake.

Thanks to the power cut, I got three hours sleep Friday night. Saturday night, thanks to Izzie’s cold, I got an hour. Last night, Lizzie decided she should free me of the burden of disturbing her sleep and moved into the spare room, so I dosed myself up on caffeine and set to it and I have no idea how much sleep I got – a few minutes here and there, I think, but I’m not sure as it’s all a bit of a blur. Tonight looks to be the same.

The new routine involves me getting Izzie settled on me for half an hour, then gently easing her into the cot in the exact same position, where she stays anything from a few seconds to fifteen minutes before starting to scream again. I honestly don’t know what’s best – to go back to bed for a couple of minutes, which leaves me feeling rough as hell, or resign myself to staying up all night, which leaves me super tired.

There are other horrors too. She has a temperature and she spits out the Calpol and won’t drink the formula if I try to sneak it in. She chokes on the cough syrup and after a while the vapour rub I put on her chest starts to smell like death. Even that’s preferable to her breath at the moment. And she farts with every cough, meaning it’s a never-ending concerto of trumping, scented with cauliflower, for some reason. And there’s not enough in her belly to poop, so every guff brings out a tiny little liquidy smear, so you keep thinking she’s done a poo, start to change her only to discover there’s nothing but a skid mark in there. But it smells so bad you might as well change it so I’m going through nappies like there’s no tomorrow.

Because she can’t breathe through her nose and has a sore throat, not to mention that she’s swallowing gallons of mucus, I’m struggling to get fluids into her. A lot of what does go in she brings back up with interest anyway. It was very disheartening Saturday afternoon when, despite my trying to stop her, she put her fingers down her throat and brought up everything I’d fed her all day. Worse was when she threw up earlier – an endless outpouring of water, milk and phlegm, mixed together like amniotic fluid. Pretty darned gross.

And I’m gross too. I’m sleeping in my clothes which I’ve worn since Friday – there’s no point changing them because they’re crusty with snot and worse, and whatever else I put on will get dirty just as quick. I haven’t had a chance to bath or shave, so I look like a pink-eyed homeless junkie, and smell the same.

Right now, Lizzie is in the spare room getting another good night’s sleep – hopefully she’ll feel a little better tomorrow and help out a bit. Izzie is lying asleep on my chest. My shirt is a soaking puddle of drool and baby snot. Given my almost total lack of sleep since Friday, my eyes feel gritty and my brain wants to leap out of my forehead. And I have a sore throat, a sure fire sign that whatever has infected Izzie and Lizzie is making its way into my system and trying to take me down from the inside. But for now, I’m hanging in there. Someone needs to look after the baby. If not me, then who?

Are You Raising a Demon Baby?

A handy checklist to see if you are raising the spawn of Satan. Has your five-months-and-one-day-old baby:

  1. Kicked you in the nuts?
  2. Kicked you in the chin?
  3. Twisted your beard until you screamed?
  4. Backhanded you across the mouth?
  5. Backhanded you in the nose?
  6. Punched you in the Adam’s Apple?
  7. Scratched your neck?
  8. Scratched your forehead?
  9. Used your ears as leverage to pull herself to her feet?
  10. Crushed your bottom lip in her meaty little hand while trying to ram her other fist down your throat?
  11. Shoved her fingers up your nostrils?
  12. Pulled off your glasses?
  13. Palm punched you repeatedly in the eyes?
  14. Tried to bite your head?
  15. Screamed when you tried to feed her?
  16. Screamed when you hugged her?
  17. Screamed when you put her down?
  18. Screamed on her front?
  19. Screamed on her back?
  20. Screamed non-stop right in your face?
  21. Thrown up pureed apple and banana down your shirt?
  22. Thrown up pureed apple and banana down your vest?
  23. Thrown up pureed apple and banana down your bare chest?
  24. Pulled out a handful of chest hair?
  25. Tugged on your armpit hair until your eyes watered?
  26. Spat on you?
  27. Sneezed on you?
  28. Done a pile of liquid yellow-green poo thirty seconds after you changed her nappy?
  29. Laughed uproariously as you tried to change her again while she kicked you and hit you?
  30. Shrieked like a banshee as you tried to put her sleepsuit back on while she kicked you and hit you?
  31. Stood up unassisted against the sofa for the first time?
  32. All of the above in the space of two hours this evening?

If the answer to all the above questions is yes, you may very well be raising the offspring of Beelzebub a.k.a. a teething baby.

To assist parents like us, I have set up a support group named Demon Dads Anonymous. Call me on 1-800-I-need-an-exorcist and we can help each other! Or we use more teething gel, yes, more teething gel, now.