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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Grandparents Go AWOL.

If you’ve been reading this blog regularly you will understand why the grandparents endeavoured to actively avoid us most of the time. 

My then husband’s parents had passed on many years before so the full load of ‘grandparenting’ responsibility fell on my oldies. 

When I was young, Dad had threatened me that when I grew up and had my own house he was going to come over and jump all over my couch, draw on my walls and leave plates of half- eaten food everywhere. While he never actually acted on those threats he has definitely had the last laugh after witnessing some of the atrocities wreaked on this household.

Mum was somewhat agreeable to short babysitting sessions when Thaddeus and Jonah were babies but that all changed when they grew into mobile, domestic demolition specialists . 
One Saturday, pregnant with Hagar and nauseous with morning sickness; I rang Mum to ask if I could pop over for a cup of tea while the real estate agent brought some people through our house.

“Ah… No, I’m sorry dear, we ummm… have to go out somewhere.” came the dodgy alibi akin to many other excuses I would hear over the next few years.

I later found out that she was expecting visitors for lunch and didn’t want my monsters debasing her impeccably clean white carpets and furniture. 

Looking back I can’t really blame her. 

Sometimes I was able to induce my obliging (but young, single, had much better chicken to fry) sister into sentry duty. She confessed to me years later that under her duty of care she had dropped a six week old Jonah on his head and was too scared to tell me.

It does explain quite a lot about Jonah.

After I gave birth to Hagar we optimistically bought a house opposite my parent’s house. 

I am being entirely truthful when I tell you that they packed up and sold less than one month later. 

During that month; feeling compelled by guilt, Mum and Dad offered to mind the two boys for us because my then- husband and I were bed-ridden with a virulent gastro bug. 

Thaddeus and Jonah were recuperating and over the worst of it. Not only did Mum and Dad catch the vomiting bug from us but their two dogs were also seen wandering around the backyard dry retching.

It wasn’t long before even the other side of town became too close for my parents and they moved down south, far away from their lunatic daughter with all the unruly brats.

When the five kids were between two and nine years old we invaded their idyllic sanctuary down on the Gold Coast. On one occasion we all caught the tilt train to Brisbane to go shopping and visit the museum. 

My mother spent a lot of time delivering cautionary tales to the boys in regards to safeguarding their precious wallets stuffed with Christmas money. Apparently there had been a lot of thefts and bag snatches reported in Brisbane Mall.

Hagar was sitting with Mum, waiting for me to emerge from Myers, when he turned to the affable chap sitting next to them.

Eyeing him warily seven year old Hagar said in a loud voice, 

“Excuse me but are you a pick-pocket?”
Mum said the bloke looked shocked and replied, 

“No! Do I look like one?”
“A bit.” replied Hagar clutching his wallet tightly.
On the way home on the train three year old Padraic needed to go to the toilet for the twentieth time that day. 

I sent Jonah to walk him about ten rows up to the end of the carriage and stand outside the door while he went. I had a direct view of the toilet door so I knew he’d be okay. 

About two minutes later the toilet door burst open enabling everyone in the carriage a clear view. 

Padraic, still sitting on the loo bellowed in his strident voice, 

“I did a big poo, Mum! I need my bum wiped!”