*** Do not read this if you're eating***
This weekend I stayed at my parents' house as they were having a surprise BBQ for my Godfather's 50th birthday.
In attempt to avoid the disproportionate amount of stress that was being attributed to the preparations, I offered to entertain my awesome 2 year old nephew for the day on Saturday.
I also had a bit of a migraine and couldn't be sure I would bite my tongue whilst my Dad was having a mental breakdown over charcoal, so it was a win win situation for me.
Those who do not know me should be made aware that I do not have an excellent track record when looking after my newphew unsupervised...
He almost lost his first two teeth when he fell over onto a toy tractor on one occasion, and another time I took him to the toilets to change his nappy and he returned with a black eye. Sadly, this weekend was to be no exception.
I would like to stress that all of these incidents have been the result of complete accidents and I am not in the habit of beating up toddlers.
Also, those who do know me will know how insanely sensitive I am, and each time anything like this has happened, I have ended up being far more upset and damaged by the episode than my nephew has.
For the sake of anonymity, I shall refer to my nephew by the incredible nickname awarded to him by my mother - "Squiffy". This is the result of a (presumably Night Nurse-induced) dream she once told us about where she was a superhero whose special powers were only activated when she put a Jiffy Bag on her head and became "JiffyWoman".
Her Grandson then became "JiffyBoy", which for some unknown reason then evolved into "Squiffy" or "Squiffboff". You're right, with a mother like that it is a wonder I was naver taken into care.
So, here goes...
After a 4 hour Peppa Pig-athon, I decided it might be nice to get out of the house so declared that I was taking Squiff out for some lunch.
Lovely, Organic, Riverford Farm Shop is nearby so I thought we could walk up there, enjoying the sunshine and admiring all the gardens along the way.
On arrival I decided I would order a quiche for us to share, and a cream tea as a little reward for sitting through so much kids TV.
The cafe has been laid out like a sort of organic canteen, with long benches and an emphasis on "help yourself" culture. I sorted us out with some cutlery and sauces then we sat down and giggled at some silly words like "poopoo" and "bums" until our lunch was brought over.
Now, Riverford being the place it is, there was a selection of hippy-dippy salads on the side of the plate, so I quickly scooped up a small amount of what appeared to be cous cous onto the fork and offered it to Squiffy.
I've seen my sister and his Dad feed him lots of different things before so thought I was carrying on their good work by introducing him to the world of bohemian side salads.
Immediately after taking the food into his mouth, he attempted to reject it by sticking his tongue out in a sort of gagging motion. It was evident that he was not a huge fan of couscous but due to its texture, it did not just drop straight out of his mouth, and he was starting to flap his arms up and down whilst wretching.
I signalled for him not to panic and quickly tried with one hand to grab some kitchen roll from beside me on the table to wipe it out with, whilst holding my other hand in front of his mouth for him to spit the food into.
Before I had chance to do anything else, he projectile vomited into my cupped hand, spraying it all over himself and me, and all over the floor. Thankfully he missed my cream tea by a couple of centimetres.
Mortified, I looked around and caught the eye of one of the waitresses.
"Ummm, I'm so sorry but my nephew has just been sick everywhere" I muttered, keen to point out that he was not my child, hoping it would be slightly more acceptable if I made it clear I was a novice at parenting.
"Oh right. Don't worry, I'll sort that out", she very kindly and discreetly replied and ran off to get some towels.
Me and Squiffy sat there, dumfounded at the scene of carnage surrounding us, not quite sure what to do next.
The waitress returned and cleaned up the floor whilst I apologised profusely and wondered what the hell I was supposed to do now. With a clean finger I managed to dial my sister's number and asked her to come and pick up her child.
Then in a moment of clarity, I abandoned everything and took him to the toilets to try and clean him up a little. As we walked out he looked up at me and said quietly, "Squiffy didn't like it"!
With that, my sister turned up and told me to stop worrying about it and go back to my lunch.
In a vomit-fuelled daze I let her take him home and wandered back to my seat.
Suddenly, I was not very hungry.
But the cous cous was literally the first thing I had touched on the plate, so I felt like I couldn't just leave it, and so I found myself politely forcing down mouthfuls of quiche surrounded by the faint aroma of vomit, until I could take no more.
There was no way I was leaving the cream tea, so I scooped it up and asked them to box it all up for me so I could take it home to eat when I was feeling a bit more chipper.
£12 later, I walked back to my Mum and Dad's feeling terrible about the whole episode. I walked in to find my nephew leaping around on the settee as if nothing had happened (albeit wearing a different outfit) and my parents tutting, "What have you done to him this time?!"
If anyone's interested, I am available Mon-Fri evenings for babysitting...