Travelling with a young child is not the easiest.
I had been assured that children get less portable the older they get. Indeed, I’d been told that if we were planning a crazy driving holiday to Europe then to do it this year “while they still sleep easily in the car.”
Once she hits a year old, that’s it. Car journeys will be dominated by repetitive, irritating nursery rhymes and hundreds of miles of screaming and endless “Whys?”
Well, we’ve made it to South Wales successfully, via a kids camp with church and, despite the ridiculous amount of stuff packed in the car (we had to get a roof box!), it has been relatively smooth travelling.
That is, except for the joys of service station changing facilities.
The main saving grace of these motorway stops is that the changing facilities are more regularly located in the ladies than the gents (Phew!).
However, when I’ve been required to step up and do the “dirty work” I’ve found the facilities less than adequate for our needs.
I mean, if you’ve got a child who likes to roll (and boy does she) a lack of straps when changing her ensures a nervously rapid change.
Before you can start the change though at least three baby wipes are required to sort out the remnant from the previous child – usually bits of breadstick, milk splats and a strange crusty substance you don’t dare touch.
After that, you place the latest victim onto the “stretcher” – essentially a board jutting out from the wall, usually unintentionally sloped downwards.
While the child wriggles and wrestles to get comfortable on this slab, you rush to change her, limbs, nappies and cotton wool flying everywhere in your attempts to get it over with.
When the deed is done, you open the fly-infested nappy bin (don’t allow your skin to come into contact with it), hold your breath and turn back to find your unstrapped child on her front, perilously close to her doom.
In one swift movement, you must sweep her up, wash your hands, fold up the board and exit the room before the nappy bin overwhelms you.
Breathlessly, you return to your wife and hand over a beaming, clean child.
“A change will do you good”? Only one of you will come through it unscathed.