Monday, 19 November 2012

Nappy Fillings

When selecting Crime Scene Investigators and Homicide Detectives, I feel a good initial test would be to have them change, examine and categorise a baby’s nappy. They are likely to react to the crime scene and the nappy in much the same way. Some will turn slightly greeny-pale, attempt to keep their distance, avert their gaze and avoid breathing in; others will note spatter pattern, observe consistency and attempt to determine time of nappy fill (which interestingly, correlates very nicely with the time of death on a crime scene given the body’s inability to control sphincters post-mortem!)

I am very much in the later group. As a baby is not capable of verbalising their state of health and gastric comfort level, a categorisation system of the relevant stool (or to use a more technical term, arse-gunge) together with the method of its excretion is required.

The Gassy Repeater
The baby breaks wind repeatedly. If awake the baby will look puzzled by this. If asleep the baby may make quite adult, yet disturbing, little sighs. Minimal poo will be produced, although this may be enough to remind the baby that they are wearing a wet nappy.
The Blocked Pipe
The baby will want to produce something, but can’t. This infantile constipation is probably due to either not stirring formula milk enough, or (if breast-fed) shaking your wife like a butter churn. If asleep the baby will rub its face against a nearby pillow, if awake they will be cranky. A single large explosion will follow resulting in a wide ranging but quite dry and coarse spatter pattern across the inside of the nappy. If this is allowed to dry the baby will experience discomfort.
The Creeping Ooze
Without any apparent effort or signal, the baby will develop a full sloppy nappy over time. You will discover this when either the baby cries for a nappy change, or when the ooze manages to escape the confines of the nappy and soak through the baby’s clothes. There may be a smell. Because the creeping ooze is unannounced, you can surreptitiously pass the parcel before “suspecting” a nappy change may be due.
The Reverse Exorcist
The baby also has the power to instantly, dramatically and noisily fill their nappy at such high volumes and pressures that the resulting torrent of poo will burst out of the nappy and either fill their socks, ooze out of the neck of the baby grow, or both. You will probably hear a loud ripping noise signifying that your baby's tardis-like capacity for poo are once again in operation. Producing more than their own bodyweight in poo, the baby will be ecstatic, probably because they know that the only response to such a substantial gout of excrement is a warm shower and singing.

Sadly, all of the above are normal and will fill your waking hours with dread opportunities for scientific investigation. In the spirit of “not getting sued” I thought I’d add a few notes on poos that are bad news. As a general rule the thing to be mindful of is not the “how” or even the “how much” unless your baby is producing watery-diarrhoea. The thing to be really careful with is colour: A normal baby should be producing poo that is somewhere between sunset yellow and cheap scrambled eggs (possibly with a bit of green thrown in). Anything other than this, especially if it’s red, black or glow-in-the-dark should be reported to a doctor immediately.


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