This brilliantly conceived and memorable line from the 1997 epic John Woo film ‘Face Off’ in which Nicolas Cage and John Travolta chase versions of themselves and each other in a quite believable yet fantastic race against time and science is so brilliant and so memorable because it cleverly conveys how patient, meticulous and indulgent (evil) Nicolas Cage is as a man, and therefore as a villain. The allure of this film is based on the ‘just over the horizon’ scientific possibilities of full face transplants, voice-box mimicry and even targeted laser chest-hair removal (height and skin-tone matching are not essential to convince Nicolas Cage’s close friends and family that John Travolta is indeed evil Cage) as well as the clever screenplay which allows Cage and Travolta to indulge their full acting range in one film; evil guy and good guy.
Anyway, this line is the exact opposite of Milo’s approach to a peach, or any food. He is a vacuum cleaner. A ‘Hoover’ in yesterday’s parlance. A ‘Dyson’ in today’s. To watch Milo eat a peach, or a nectarine, or a barbeque chicken is one of life’s great pleasures. The process usually involves a shrill battle cry of some form, followed by a full facial attack upon the poor unsuspecting foodstuff. How he generates the destructive force that he does with only two undersized lower tusks is a mystery. This is a noisy and visceral process; nectarine flesh, chicken morsels or omelette particles are flung with ferocity in every direction and at the peak of the fury, the point at which the nectarine stops and Milo’s mouth begins is not easy to discern. Below him is a boiling sea of gleeful kittens, frantically attempting to eat or bury the hail of discarded particles falling upon them.
Milo has eaten enthusiastically from day one, but particularly since he became aware that food could come in non-liquid form. This process of when and how to introduce solid foods, and how this should evolve is a tricky one; and (surprise, surprise) not uniformly agreed upon in the literature. I assure you, my wife is well acquainted with the literature. We started at four months with a gruel type substance, followed by packets and jars and then some morsels of what I would consider ‘food’. But, this process gets a momentum of its own and is hard to slow down once it begins. The tipping point for us was probably offering Milo the aforementioned barbeque chicken, which he inhaled aggressively and then looked at us with accusatory eyes which unmistakably said “where are you hiding the other barbeque chickens?”
Beyond “don’t give them any solids before four months” it is not really clear what you are supposed to do and when, except you must under no circumstances give them honey before 12 months. This would be at best reckless negligence and at worst pre-meditated abuse. The reason for this dictate is the spores of dastardly botulism which can live in the honey. Now, an intestine at one has the necessary bacteria to break these evil spores down but before that they are defenseless. I feel on this point that the honey lobby really needs to do a better job. They need a group of influential, or at least wealthy, ‘botulism sceptics’ to sow the seed of doubt around this science. They are missing out on huge infant honey sales, and this is a key period during which young taste buds can be hooked for life; much like the Commonwealth Dollarmite accounts of the 80s.
Our household would, of course, be immune to these sceptics because Kuepps does not take advice or directives without a full examination of the evidence. This includes sourcing and examining the studies upon which they are made, assessing for efficacy, sample size and reliability; I am quite serious about this. My favourite example, and one of my favourite moments of Kuepps’ pregnancy occurred in our third trimester when we attended our local hospital’s “this is how you have a baby” day (well, two days actually but we wagged the second).
This course necessarily assumes no knowledge at all and so at times (at most times) is somewhat patronising and always dull. The instructor was particularly insulting of the dads, simply by how little she expected of us. There were classic lines such as “dads you need to chip in and change the occasional nappy, and the whole house will just work better”. So to give us our opportunity to shine at the introduction the dads had to state their child’s due date, articulate whether we would be in the birth centre or the labour ward and ask a specific question that we would like addressed during the day. When it came to me I impressed everybody by knowing the answer to the first two then said we would be interested to learn more about the process of induction, as that may be something we might need to consider. The presenter said with a slight giggle and a wink that sex has been known to bring on labour and then, completely mis-judging my wife, went to move onto the next gentleman so he could wow us with his knowledge of his child’s due date. Kuepps, having none of this, rather forcefully shook her finger at the lady and said (quote) “there are no reliable studies that support that assertion at all”. The poor presenter was literally struck dumb, left a very pregnant pause (so to speak), and again moved to the next father. It was amazing.
So we’re a week in, and now into the heart of the matter. It becomes clear that days without structured outings will be constructed of errands, and today we managed three. We walked in the pram up to the supermarket for a spot of shopping and then to the high street fruit and veg for the good hummus and dried apricots for Milo, Milo dressed in his Petit Bateau jumper which makes him look like a blue stripey wizard.
After a short nap we then loaded up the car and headed to Officeworks and Bunnings (the dream double). Both successful visits. At Officeworks I stopped the car quickly and gestured to the driver of the car adjacent (a dad with two kids in the back) to let him know that he was about to reverse over his pram (no child inside). He nodded courteously but in a sober manner which I read as “thanks fellow dad, but I have a reversing camera on this bad boy, would have seen it”.
We then hustled home, slipped Milo into the third transportation option for the day (pram, car now ergo carrier) and jumped on the bus to see Kuepps’ new office then both head to the doctor to have our various Milo induced skeletal ailments examined; perhaps these ailments should be the subject of a future post.
Day six and on all six Milo’s face has lit up at the sight of his mum. Usually this is the first smile we have seen for an hour or so as he reaches the end of his sleep cycle. His joy is quite lovely to see.
Oh, also kudos to Lali for recommending Covitol cream to cure what was developing into a nasty rash on Milo’s inner thigh. Made him smell like a salted pilchard left to bask in the afternoon sun, but knocked it out in 48 hours. “I know bottoms” says Lali. Yes she certainly does.
- Number of times Milo has fallen asleep in his pram (ever) – 0
- Brussels Sprouts seedlings planted – 2
- Hours spent playing with ‘Hello Fresh’ cardboard box – 3
- Hours spent communicating with Eastern European hobbyists via Ham Radio – 0
- Hours spent researching edible plants of the Australian outback – 0
- Podcasts listened to – 2 (only 2 episodes of ‘Serial’ to go)