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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Pinky and how her beautiful babysitter Audrey saved her sanity.

                                          (l-r) Lulu, Thaddeus, Hagar, Padraic.

Audrey made her significant entrance into our lives just prior to Hagar’s. Diminutive, lively, capable and reliable, at sixty odd years of age she brought organization and regularity into our messy lives. For the next eight years Audrey operated as a baby-sitter, sounding board, and substitute grandmother. As the boys grew older and she grew more fragile things became a little problematic.

The guiltiest party would have to have been Hagar, who on more than one occasion locked the poor lady out of the house. 

I would arrive home to find everyone standing on the veranda; Hagar with a hangdog expression and Audrey fuming. From the age of two some type of primal dynamic invaded Hagar’s body and he became a wild, impulsive, foolhardy pain in the bum. This abhorrent conduct persisted all through his childhood and well into his teenager hood.

My dearest Audrey was responsible for toilet training every single one of my offspring. In fact it is due to Audrey that many of the family’s quirky sayings came to be. One day little Jonah was sitting on the toilet waiting for Audrey to come and wipe his bottom. Espying a kookaburra out of the bathroom window he started raucously shouting,

“Kookaburra! Kookaburra!”

From that day on we always referred to Number Twos as ‘kookaburras’.

“Do you need to do a kookaburra?”. “His nappy is whiffy, I think he’s done a kookaburra, can you change him?”

That sort of thing.

‘Kookaburras’ were a prominent feature in my life from 1989 to 1998. I’d give Warren Buffet a run for his money if I had a dollar for every malodorous nappy I changed over those nine years.

When they were still little, in the interests of expediency I would cram all five of the kids in a big bathtub together. Once in a blue moon there would be a dreadful catastrophe when someone accidentally squeezed out a ‘Kookaburra’ in the bathtub.

Ear-splitting screams and a frenetic exodus would ensue, with poo tainted water splashing all over the floor and myself. After ineffectual efforts to placate the panic-stricken casualties, I would have to empty the bath, disinfect it, refill it and start all over again.

On numerous instances I would be drowsily laying in a twilight slumber in the morning, wondering why the baby had not cried yet. Ultimately my curiosity would get the better of me and like some sort of inexplicable rite of passage; Id discover the baby sitting up in its cot, covered in poo.

There would be faeces spread all over the cot, the wall, inside the baby’s ears and hidden in crevices I would not discover for months. With each baby I avowed this regrettable event would never happen again; but no matter how securely I bound their nightly nappy, the messy nightmare repeatedly transpired with each and every one of the five of them.

Hagar was the most delayed in the toilet training stakes. He unequivocally refused to be part of any ‘kookaburra’ activity on the actual toilet. I would have to put a disposable nappy on him immediately after his dinner. He would then go and sit in a distant corner with a meditative expression on his little face and play with his toy cars. After a time he would get up and casually glide past me with a pongy bouquet of fresh turd wafting around him. That was his special way of letting me know he was ready to be decontaminated.

Lulu was about four years old when Audrey finally resigned from her duties and confessed to me that it was all getting a bit much for her. The root of all evil, it emerged, was Hagar.

                                  Audrey holding a 3 month old Hagar