It’s a bit of a sticky subject – but detergent usually shifts it

There is a level of stickiness that only babies can attain.

Were our babies as sticky as our nine-month-old grandson? I don’t remember Ruth and Mark ever achieving the extraordinary adhesive qualities of George. Nor do I recall them having quite the same ability to transfer their stickiness to all other surfaces; floor, tables, me.

For the first time in years I had to use detergent between each of my fingers to stop them sticking together. It might have been a mistake to feed him (using the prescribed self-weaning model) goulash with rice.

Not only did he end up with his little face stained with paprika and/or tomato but the carpet – a pale rice colour - ended up covered in grains of rice. They looked like maggots and when I tried to get them up with a brush and dustpan, they jumped about like Olympic pole vault maggots.

George had raspberries and blueberries for pudding... another great idea.

It wasn’t like this when Ruth and Mark were tiny. We had spoons. There was the occasional ice cream incident when a single spiral of Mr Whippy would cover a small child plus an area the size of a football pitch but there was nothing on the scale of George’s distribution logistics.

Days later, there were still tacky surfaces.

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“Don’t bother putting the mail on the kitchen table, just stick it on the wall,” I suggested.

“My shoe seems to be stuck to the hall floor,” said my husband.

I have taken to carrying a damp cloth around with me so I can de-stick as I go. Perhaps we get more sensitive to stickitude as we get older.

What were those sticky weeds we used to pull out of hedgerows and attach to back of people’s coats and jackets. That was rather good fun.

It was George’s first solo sleepover with the paternal grandparents and though all went well, I freely confess that I don’t skitter up and down stairs with a baby on my hip as nimbly as I did in the 80s. And kneeling on the floor to change nappies was something of a production number with my arthritic knee. It was touch and go as to which of us, baby or me, would be the first to be able to get up and walk.

It is a steep re-learning curve.

As diligent grandparents we were keen to feed George’s hungry brain as well as his tummy, so we bought him books. He enjoyed them, although, to be honest the plots of babies’ books aren’t terribly challenging. Both grandpa and I got a wee bit bored with his favourite Ladybird Touch and Feel “novel”, This Little Monster.

It can be summed up as Fizz the monster has bumpy feet, Bosh has a squishy nose, Puff’s tummy is covered in purple fluff, Grumps has scaly skin (can you not get cream for that) and the last monster hasn’t got a name so why not choose one? George chose to gurgle. He then launched himself at the book and attempted to chew it. After which, you won’t be surprised to learn. The book was sticky and so were, Fizz, Bosh, Puff, Grumps, grandpa and me.

After giving George tea and a bath, reading to him and singing the entire repertoire (where would we be without the Beatles and Danny Kaye?), George finally conceded to sleep at around a quarter to ten. I dozed off about 15 minutes later, still a bit sticky.

It was our first night with a baby intercom in the bedroom. George did his British wildlife impressions; hedgehog snuffles, mouse-like squeaks and badgerish grunts. At 3am, I woke with a start. I could hear nothing. Was he all right? There was only one way to find out.

I prodded my husband awake: “I can’t hear George.”

“I’ll go and check on him,” he said and rolled out of bed.

It was as if we had rewound 30 years.

“He’s fine,” said grandpa climbing back into bed. I’m not sure he actually woke up.

When George woke up he happily chattered away to himself, no doubt trying to come up with a suitable name for the fifth monster. We scooped him out of his cot and brought him into our bed until we caught a whiff of his nappy.

As we handed our grandson back into the arms of his doting parents, I kissed him goodbye and he nuzzled my neck. It was a tender moment... and probably when my pearls got sticky.