I bet Bruce Willis didn’t have to deal with bombs in nappies

Have you ever seen that picture sketching the evolution of man? The one where they start with a PGTips monkey on the left, progress through knuckle-dragging footballer, through Bernard Manning (now there’s a terrible image) to present-day man?

Well the same thing happens with conversation as you get older. You start off talking about bogies in the playground, move on to the latest bands in NME and then suddenly, Bang!, it’s the latest exploits of the columnists of The Guardian. You can check your social diary all you like, but you don’t do parties anymore, they’re dinner parties. And that means endless discussions about holidays in trendy ethnic places (oh, you’ve not been to Cuba? You simply must pop over there. We went last year and built 4 orphanages and a small testing station for their new space programme…). Or Mortgages.

But don’t worry. The next step along the progression is babies and, trust me on this one, there’ll be no talk of fairtrade organically grown carbon neutral holidays. In fact there’ll be no talk at all.

Babyists are easy to spot – they’ll be the ones with facesĀ  like Deputy Dawg. Their youthful complexions coated in BodyShop crafted-by-elves all-cocoa joba oil make-up will drain to a pasty grey.

They’ll also be the ones who come for a walk with 68 pieces of baggage, all baby-related. They cancelled their membership of that trendy gym that sells extra-skimmed lattes long ago because now they have to carry around 30kilos of stuff just to pop down the road for a pint of milk and a Yorkie bar. They have everything in there. There’s the favourite toy, six kinds of powdered milk, 3 changes of clothes, half the mothercare equivalent of the Bodlean library, and enough nappies for the population of a small island. And that’s not all. There’ll be some baby food, a baby spoon and a few ointments. Oh, and a small chemistry set and a contraption that looks like it attaches to a combined harvester so that they can sterilise any baby item that may have touched some part of your house.

As well as the physical evolution, there are also a few changes in their personality and senses. For a start, they lose all sense of being humiliated. Suddenly, people who wouldn’t be seen dead in anything but Prada in a box at the Classic FM awards are wandering around in green and pink tracksuits with Jackson Pollock-inspired stains down the leg. Where they once only held conversations stocked with borrowed words from French and German, they’re now quite happy to launch into ‘baby-speak’ at a moments notice.

And they lose all sense of hearing. If a tree falls in the wood and no one’s around would it still make a sound? One thing’s for certain: these guys wouldn’t hear it if it fell on them. Weddings, christenings, concerts – to them their baby is as quiet as a mouse. Unfortunately, the rest of us haven’t had our hearing removed by raising offspring, so we can still hear their baby. We can hear it screaming in the quiet moments of life. We can hear it throwing things on the floor. We can hear in doing that annoying Teletubbies giggle. We can hearing it making so much noise that if this were a workspace we’d be required to wear earplugs for fear of long-term damage. Yet they smile and look forward as if nothing’s happening, whilst around them 100 people strain their ears in concentration in the hope of hearing something of what’s going on.

And that’s before you get to the bomb moment. You can see the tension rising. It’s been quiet. Too quiet. There’s an ominous silence and then a little bit of sniffing. The parent’s eyes widen in panic. They look at each other, and then at the floor. Nobody look at the baby for heaven’s sake, it’ll see your fear. They gently rock it, but it’s too late, she’s gonna blow. Then there’s the quick exchange. The child is passed between them like it’s ticking. Who’s gonna get the full force of the blast when suddenly those tiny lungs turn the volume all the way up to 11?

When you’re 12 you think your life’s over because you’re too grown-up to talk about bogies. By 18 you can’t make jokes about bodily functions unless you play rugby. By 22 you realise that you’ll never be able to talk about the cool bands again because people are talking about bands you’ve never heard of. At 24 you realise you’ll never be able to talk about anything except mortgages and fuel economy. But as I’m just realising, by 30 most of the events you attend will have babyists in the mix, so maybe it’s best just to become a social recluse – that or contact Bruce Willis and take a course in baby bomb disposal.

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