They say that parenting is a partnership. And they’re right. Most of the time.
Because, every so often, the partnership goes out the window.
Every so often, it’s every man for himself.
Welcome to Shit Chicken, where only the strong of will and dickhead-ish of disposition survive.
While the name might be new, I’m fairly sure we’ve been playing since humans have been parenting. On some undiscovered cave wall, alongside the Neolithic art of early man taking down mammoths, I guarantee there’s a piece depicting a Neanderthal couple playing Shit Chicken.
The game is fairly self-explanatory, but for the soon-to-be-dads and the really, really, really tired new parents who’ve read this same sentence twelve times without actually taking it in, allow me to clarify.
It’s Sunday night. You and your partner are lying on the couch watching The Block, because it’s Sunday night and that’s what Sunday nights are for, goddammit. Your baby is crawling between you when suddenly, you smell it. You know the smell.
For something as outwardly pure and angelic as a baby, internally, they are more like Satan’s toilet after a massive weekend bender. The stuff that comes out of them can be truly hellish.
And as soon as that first, eye-watering waft hits you, Shit Chicken has begun.
You both continue to doggedly watch The Block, eyes fixed firmly on the screen like it’s The Block All Stars instead of the normal, shittier version. However, the companionable silence of watching Scotty try and add up the scores in his head has now turned heavy, ominous.
You know she can smell it. She knows you can smell it. But neither of you tired, selfish arseholes move a muscle.
Like a movie from the ‘60s, you’re like two Oldsmobiles hurtling towards each other down a backwoods stretch of road. Who will veer away from the infernal smell of baby shit first?
The tension approaches critical levels, and suddenly, dramatically, the Shit Chicken loser swerves. They throw the other a (completely warranted) filthy look and get up to grab the nappies and wipes.
To which the winner (according to Shit Chicken rules) must innocently respond, “oh sorry, I didn’t even smell that. I’ll do the next one, promise.”
Timed just right, Scotty will make a contextually perfect comment about the judges being impressed with the dedication that went into this round, and the two competitors retreat to their corners of the couch, ready to play again in another seven minutes.
There are no heroes in this game. No good sports.
But you’ll play.
They all play.
Welcome to Shit Chicken, you poor, tired sonofabitch.
May the odds be ever in your favour.