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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Pinky and the Curly Years

When there were Three.
At the time Hagar was born, Thaddeus was almost four years old and Jonah three. I can remember calling in to the local Coles with my then husband on the way home from hospital in order to purchase the necessary supplies (including disposable nappies of course). I was shuffling around as best I could with the pain of Caesarian staples piercing my still inflated belly. It was my job to push the trolley (with newborn Hagar asleep in the baby capsule) and gather the nuts and berries, and my husband’s job to watch the two remaining villains. As I deliberated over which breast pads would soak up the most leakage, I beheld the man of the house walking towards me with a jaunty four year old.
“Where’s Jonah?” I asked in alarm.
“I thought he was with you,” came the accusatory reply.
Immediately a sick feeling of dread developed in the pit of my stomach. We frantically took off in different directions searching up and down the aisles, panic rising every second. The post pregnancy hormones were flooding my body and placing horrific images in my head. Someone had abducted him. 

This was my punishment for being greedy and having too many babies too close together. Sobbing and terrified I pushed the trolley all around the store calling out loudly, ignoring the agony of the staples tearing at my flesh and drawing quite a bit of curious attention. Finally I went to the front counter to ask for a call to be made over the Public Announcement system. The red- coiffed woman behind the desk gave me a seen-it-all -before look and rasped into the microphone, “There is a lost three year old boy in the store wearing a stripy one-piece. Please return him to the front counter”

I took off again desperately searching under shelves and around corners. Within minutes we heard the PA system asking us to return to the counter. There the fugitive stood , innocuously eyeing off some lollies under the counter, in his little stripy outfit, looking every bit the runaway convict. Two kind, magnificent ladies had found him trying to cross the busy road outside the shopping centre. It was at that moment I decided to leave them at home on future shopping expeditions.

That incident, regrettably, was not the last of young Jonah’s forays into the wide, wide world. Hagar would usually awaken demanding his morning nourishment at about five o'clock in the morning. After feeding him, I would make myself a cup of tea and sit serenely on the verandah generally counting my blessings and ponder how lovely my life was, what with my three gorgeous boys all safely tucked in bed. 

On one of these harmonious occasions my musings were interrupted by the sound of what sounded like very large dogs barking their heads off. Immersed amongst this sound I could hear a small child screaming. How terrible, I thought. What could be going on? Thank God my little darlings are safe and sound in their own bed.
Within seconds the screaming became louder. I hastily moved from my chair to the front gate to investigate.

 I could see a small child running very fast with a tormented look on its face carrying what appeared to be…. Good Lord, it was Jonah, tearing down the road towards the house being chased by what appeared to be the hounds of the Baskervilles. I sprinted out to meet him, scooped up the distressed child and yelled at the dogs, who immediately lost interest and trotted off. 

Whatever it was that Jonah had been carrying was strewn all over the road. Carrying the absconder in my arms I went over to investigate. There were rolled up newspapers all over the road. Today’s edition no less. The little reprobate had snuck out of his bed, taken himself on an exploratory walk and had for some reason decided to collect all the neighbours’ freshly delivered papers.

It wasn't too long after that incident that the by now, familiar feelings of queasiness in the mornings and aversion to coffee began yet again. The small Federation cottage we lived in at the time was far too small for a family of six, so it was time to start seeking out a more spacious address. Enter stage right, a rather enterprising, annoying, lovable and adventurous four year old neighbour, Newman!