Pinky's Book Link

Showing posts with label Bringing up Babies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bringing up Babies. Show all posts

Monday, September 2, 2013

Pinky the Nostalgic Tragic


Yesterday, as Scotto and I were driving across town to the beach, I asked him to call in to my ex-husband’s house...the house I’d lived in for seven years and had brought my last two babies home to from hospital. 


A photograph was required to add to an older post I wrote some time ago; about a disastrous project I’d once orchestrated involving the construction of a monstrous and unsightly wall in the garden. There was a thirty foot drop from the veranda and I didn't want any of the rugrats falling over it.
Read about it here!



As I trampled down the path through the overgrown garden an unexpected and melancholy sensation prickled through my body settling around my heart like tight blue tentacles. 

Not having walked through this garden for many years I was suddenly enveloped by a powerful feeling of nostalgia, grief and loss.

I could almost see my eight year old Hagar's shiny bowl cut head, hanging from the rainforest tree and calling out to me, "Don't tell da bruddas where I'm hiding, Mum!"


 A be-goggled Thaddeus and Jonah stealthily slinking around the undergrowth with our eight year old neighbour Newman, staging surprise attacks on each other with their makeshift pipe guns. 

I could hear the honeyed trill of a five year old Lulu, playfully singing to the cat in the cubby house.

Sweet, sweet memories encircled me as I made my way through to the 'wall'. 

I stood, stock still in confusion. The wall was gone.

But no, I thought. It wasn’t gone… just completely overgrown with palms and vines; it’s ugly façade camouflaged behind the greenery. 

There was no trace of it.


Has it really been that long? I pondered yearningly.

It’s eleven years since I left the house. The kids of course were always over there visiting their father, and still are of course... but not me.

The cubby, brittle and eroded by the harsh North Queensland sun looks forlorn and wretched, abandoned by the five children who spent so much time dangling upside down suspended on its sturdy railings.


Just like those halcyon days of five small innocent children giggling and tumbling all over it, the once lush grass is gone. 


I wish I had taken the time to enjoy those gorgeous times more appreciatively. I wish I'd been more chilled out.
I wish I could go back in time and kiss their chubby little faces all over and over and over.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Pinky the Pushy Mother

                       Jonah at four years of age in the newspaper!


We held our annual talent quest at school today and kids from 6 years of age to about twelve years took to the stage with acts such as; telling jokes, singing, dancing, playing trumpets, violins, pianos and drums. There were also a couple of unusual acts where the kids sat on the floor, sang a song and appeared to be playing a drinking game with a pair of cups. Not sure what that was about?

Proud parents lined the edges of the shelter shed snapping away like the paparazzi. I remember when my kids were little… nervously watching them perform in singing, dancing and poetry competitions.

Was Pinky a pushy parent? Damn straight I was… especially with Thaddeus and Jonah. The novelty had pretty much worn off by the time the other three were old enough.

Thaddeus recited a poem on stage at the local Eisteddfod after he had just turned four

Extremely enthusiastic and excited about his performance, the entire time he was on stage he maintained a firm and steadfast grip on his willy. As the poem gained momentum, little Thaddeus’ vocal tone grew higher and higher, as did the level of tenacity with which he clung on to the front of his trousers. 

By the time he finished the crowd was howling with laughter. I think he may have received a Highly Commended award for his entertainment value.

Poor unfortunate Jonah was sent to tap dancing lessons at the age of four. Lulu had just been born and it would be at least four years before she would be old enough to send to ballet lessons; I was anxious to have one of my kids dancing on stage... enter, little Jonah.

Pushy Pinky entered the unwilling, tiny Gene Kelly into the Tiny Tots Song and Dance section of the Eisteddfod.

“I don’t want to do it Mum,” he wailed piteously.

“Oh come ON Jonah… what if I give you twenty bucks?” Bribery always worked with this child.

“Nup,” he was adamant.

“What if I give you twenty bucks, and if you come first, second or third you never have to go to tap dancing again!”

“Okay. I’ll do it!”

I thought I was home and hosed. There was no WAY he was going to win any prizes. The kids in the Tiny Tots competition came from all the small towns in the hinterland where there was NOTHING ELSE to do. Their parents were psychotic fanatics and their ‘Toddlers in Tiaras’ lived and breathed the dance studios. Besides, their mothers could sew up a storm in glamorous costumes, unlike useless Pinky.

Jonah’s dance teacher decided he should sing ‘Ragtime Cowboy Joe’ dressed as a miniature cowboy with a rocking horse and a gun holster. 
Easy costume a la Toyworld for lazy, inadequate Pinky!
The big night arrived and little Jonah tap-tap-tapped his way on to the stage, spinning and singing the complicated lyrics with aplomb. Suddenly he slipped right across the stage in an un-choreographed fashion. A gasp went up from the audience…my heart stopped… no, he was up, barely missing a beat and tap-tap-tapping across the stage again.

The crowd cheered; he was so adorable. I was unbelievably proud and visions of a renowned, tap dancing, genious son performing all around the world flashed before me. 
MY son would be FAMOUS!

Jonah came second in the competition and sadly for the entertainment industry, never graced the stage in those tap shoes again.


                             Bragging rights!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Pinky: Proof that Fairies are Real!



When Lulu was about four years of age and her brothers were busy at soccer training I would take her for a little stroll down to the river to watch the ducks and turtles. There was a little inlet in the banks of the river.

Fairy pond


“You know that fairies live here, Lulu!” I told her one day. There was even a tree with a ‘fairy door’ for the comings and goings of the pixies. 

Fairy door
                     Yes! (sigh) I know. It looks like a vagina. Grow up!

I would hide a tiny present wrapped in tissue paper in my pocket and secretly drop it on the ground for her to ‘discover’: a present from the fairies.

The ‘fairy gift’ was usually something akin to a sparkling bracelet, a pot of face glitter or a spangled hair tie.

After a few weeks of this Lulu eventually turned to me lisping kindly,

“Mummy, I don’t like the presents the fairies are giving me. They’re ‘girl’ presents.”

… so much for my elation at giving birth to a girl after four boys; little tomboy.

I’d like to share a short home video my creative father made of my sister, Sam and I when we were about four and seven years old, respectively (circa 1967). I clearly remember the entire day it took Dad to film it.

It’s about a bossy fairy (Pinky) who assists a dysfunctional and possibly intellectually impaired bee (Sam) to find some honey; because the bee for some inexplicable reason can’t do its job properly.

You must pay particular attention to the creative improvised dances by both the fairy and the bee. Also note the preoccupation with scratching, due to a prolific amount of mosquitoes hanging around on the day!








And if you are reading this Lulu, I went for a walk down to the river today and guess what I saw in our favourite tree!!!

 I told you fairies are real!

Fairy at the fairy door!
                                 Click on the image to get a closer look!

PS: I still LOVE my little sister xxxxxx

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pinky had no idea there were so many amusing words for 'testicle'!

                             Padraic- Butter wouldn't melt in his mouth!

Unfortunately many of the comical elements in my day to day life cannot be documented due to a small clause in my teacher’s code of ethics titled, ‘Confidentiality’. This worries me in the sense that I wonder what vicious and debauched tales my own children imparted to their teachers over the years. The mind boggles.

When I separated from my first husband, (there I go channelling Zsa Zsa Gabor again) I was alone in a new house with five kids under thirteen years of age, studying full time at University and teaching drama part-time. Sometimes life was a mite feral; especially the frenetic preparation for departure on school mornings. For more on these electrifying times please click … here

Padraic was about nine at the time and not averse to chucking the occasional wobbly. One morning he overslept and feeling feisty, engaged in a ferocious skirmish with Hagar. He was then unable to find his uniform amongst the clothes strewn all over his bedroom and in a fit of Irish temper stubbornly declined my urgent invitation to get in the damn car.

We were late for school already but my relentless blasts on the car horn failed to coerce him from the sanctity of the house. Taking the only option any other reasonable mother would have, I backed out of the driveway and revved the engine Craig Lowndes’ style; but there was still no Padraic in sight.

“Right!” I screamed at the top of my voice, “I’m taking the others to school and boy, are you in for it when I get home!”

When I returned from the thirty minute round trip, Padraic was standing out on the front driveway, fully uniformed and diabolically wielding a cricket bat. No, the cricket bat wasn’t for me but for the ‘bad guys’ he must have imagined were going to get him.

He sat petulantly and silently the entire way to school and only as he slammed the car door did he utter a sound.

“I called Kid’s Helpline because you left me home alone,” he spat self-righteously at me, “and I’m telling my teacher!”

I spent the rest of the day waiting for the police to arrive at my door. I’m still waiting nine years later and I have a vague suspicion he may have been bluffing.

My sister Sam has an even more cringe-worthy tale of “What my big mouthed kid told the teacher.”

Her husband Pedro is a bit of a venturesome lad and when leaving the pub one night became involved in a bit of a scuffle, resulting in him being unceremoniously kicked in the 'nobby’s nuts'. By the next morning his ‘coconuts’ were the size of rock melons and Sam dutifully drove him to the hospital.

As way of explanation to their concerned seven year old daughter Kathleen, Sam and Pedro told her that her Dad had ‘fallen off a ladder’ and bumped his ‘kerbangers’ which were now very swollen indeed.

Little Kathleen seemed to accept this flimsy account of events and months went by as Pedro’s 'plums' gradually returned to a more normal circumference.

It was only at the parent teacher interview, when little Kathleen’s teacher pulled out an explicitly detailed, fully labelled drawing of Pedro lying on a hospital bed; surrounded by doctors who were seemingly probing his grossly enlarged Cracker Jacks, that Sam realised how seriously her daughter had taken the incident.

The teacher, I was informed by Sam, sat poker-faced and serene, while Sam gaped in mortification at the candid sketch with a lovely accompanying story. Apparently the only comment the teacher had written on the page was to correct ‘testacle’ to ‘testicle’.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Accidents Happen- not as much as you'd think!

                                    Lulu taking a shot!

When all five of my kids attended the same primary school I bonded with the school’s office lady, Monica. She too had been through the nail-biting trauma of bringing up five kids very close in age and was a compassionate, caring source of support.

One day when I arrived to pick them all up, I’d only just skulked through the gate when I espied Monica anxiously scampering towards me across the netball court.

“Pinky! We’ve been trying to contact you. Don’t panic!” she blurted out, “Hagar’s been taken to the hospital in an ambulance, but he’s alright!”

My face turned not fifty, but just one shade of greenish-grey.

“Is it his head?” I asked weakly. That was always my first question. You can live without an arm or a leg but you can’t live without a head.

“He broke his arm playing football,” she continued, “but he was a very brave little boy. He walked into the office holding up his dangling arm and said, ‘I think I broke my f#cking arm’. The paramedics gave him some gas and he was giggling the whole time they were putting him in the ambulance.”

It was Monica who rang me when Padraic was hit in the head with a cricket bat. “He’s fine Pinky,” she said calmly, “the PE teacher said he’s seen the same injury dozens of times.”

He certainly didn’t look fine with a lump over his eye the size of an emu egg, but I trusted Monica. Padraic (apart from a headache that night) recovered rapidly, although he cried the next morning when he saw himself in the mirror, the poor little buggar. 



                            Padraic sporting a shiner.

Years later I still run into a retired Monica at the shopping centre. “How are the kids?” she’ll ask in with genuine interest.

“Aaaah Monica, those boys have been getting into a bit of trouble,” I’ll reply.

“Oh don’t worry about that! We had to pick up one of our kids from the police station lock-up three times when he was in his teens. He got over it. He’s a Doctor now.”

I love Monica.

All of the boys lived on the wild side, playing contact sports and physically pushing the envelope; but strangely they didn't come to too much grief and it was Tomboy Lulu who sustained the more serious injuries, with two broken arms and a broken foot to her credit. 


The first time she broke her arm falling off a bike and, just like a neglectful mother, I presumed it was only a sprain. She had to go to hospital the following morning to have five teeth removed in preparation for braces. The following day after her hospital stay she was still complaining about her arm so I took her to the doctors, who promptly sent her for x-rays. They unfortunately revealed a hairline fracture requiring a cast.

Taking her shopping with an shockingly swollen, bruised face and a broken arm drew some alarmed looks from my fellow shoppers. I felt like putting a sign on her saying, 

Dental work and bike accident. Don’t judge my mother! She’s not a child basher!

She broke her arm a second time in the first two minutes of a basketball game and her foot when she jumped out of a tree.

Unlike my own mother who wouldn’t even allow me to own a bike, I wasn’t a particularly over protective mother, but tomorrow will be a true test of my maternal fortitude. 

Tomorrow, as some of you know, is the day Hagar plunges into the air from somewhere around 10 000 feet, with a blanket tied to a piece of string attached to his torso. There’s no coming back from that if something goes wrong.

So stay tuned for tomorrow’s post which will hopefully be a colourfully photographic and hilarious tale describing how I watched Hagar land perfectly on the beach whilst I drained the blood from Scotto’s hand leaving deep talon marks in his wrist.

In the meantime, pass me the Valium and… Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee…

Saturday, March 30, 2013

One more sleep until the Eeta Bunny comes!

Jonah, baby Padraic and Hagar
           

Memories of Easter Sundays with five kids under nine years of age come flooding back at this time of year. I recall with the clarity of yesterday fragments of chocolate trodden all through the house, smeared into the carpet fibres and tile grouting. At first all five would savour their eggs.

Five giant, chocolate monstrosities encased in torn psychedelic foil crowded the fridge; with ubiquitous splinters of chocolate dropping down into the crisper and permeating every crevice. The rubber seal of the fridge had its limits tested as every three minutes one kid or another would open the door to pick off a delectable nibble of Cadbury confectionary.

This lasted until Hagar finished his egg first and overcome by greed would pilfer someone else’s egg, hide under his bed and surreptitiously gobble it up.

“Someone stoled my Eeta egg!” Lulu would wail. Everyone knew it was Hagar due to his greenish hue.

Now Hagar is almost twenty years old and doesn’t want an ‘Eeta egg’. Thaddeus and Jonah gave them up years ago. Last year when Lulu was fifteen years of age and Padraic seventeen, they both requested Easter eggs.

“Really?” I asked sceptically. “Aren’t you a little bit old?”

“I’ll have one of those Humpty Dumpty ones with the Smarties inside please.” requested an unfazed Padraic.

This year I’ve decided to put a bowl in the kitchen with some gold rabbits and assorted eggs and they can help themselves. Enough’s enough.

I do have a nephew Heinrich, however, who is only eight years old and my mission today is to find a distinctly macho style of egg just for him, if that is humanly possible.

Heinrich abhors anything remotely feminine and last year ripped into the Easter bunny for the apparently contemptible egg he was presented with on Sunday morning. Heinrich is not spoiled mind you… just extremely pedantic about his masculinity.

A football shaped Easter egg seems a little trite and uncreative don’t you agree?

It can’t have any bunnies in any colour or creed and baby chicks should only appear on the packaging if the benefactor wishes to incite a temper tantrum. 


So now I’m off to seek out the holy grail of ‘blokey’ eggs. If only I could find one shaped like this…

Find out why Lulu is afraid of the Easter bunny on…Don't miss this one!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Should screaming kids be banned from shopping centres?



On my way to work this morning the radio jocks were discussing the hoo-ha about uncontrolled children screaming in shopping centres. 
Believe me, I can sympathise with the poor mothers. 

There was the incident when Thaddeus tipped two year old Jonah out of a shopping trolley. He wasn’t hurt but he got a fright and let all and sundry know about it. 

I remember another incident when Lulu stood on a bee in Coles and screamed blue murder. ‘Why was the child barefoot?’ I hear you ask. She couldn’t find a matching pair amongst the plethora of footwear on the floor of the car of course. I had to carry the screeching banshee to the deli counter in search of ice whilst avoiding the disgruntled glares. 

But let’s face it; there are far more harrowing annoyances in a shopping mall than a kid going off.

Everyone can cite the usual grievances; 

(a) The ‘mirage’ parking spots where you think you’ve finally hit jackpot and then at the last minute, see a motorbike parked in the space.

(b) Annoying merchandising ploys such as putting Easter eggs on display on December 26.

(c) Weird lighting in dressing rooms that give your reflection the appearance of an uninspiring corpse. 

(d) The fact that they’ve changed clothing sizes and I don’t fit into size eight any more. 

(e) Waiting tetchily in line at the checkout for ages and realising that the girl has had her “Counter Closed” sign up the whole time.

But…it’s the people who drive me insane.

Those insistent spruikers who stand in wait directly in front of the shops. I try to walk by purposefully with my head down and a preoccupied look on my face. 

“Excuse me Madame! Would you like a free exfoliating hand massage with our lotion made from the grounds of the Dead Sea Scrolls?” 


“No thanks, I have five kids and can’t even afford food.” is my stock reply.

Then there is the cute geriatric couple languidly pushing the trolley down the middle of the aisle. Don’t get me wrong, I adore oldies, but I hate getting stuck behind their trolley and being compelled to wait patiently and listen to them argue over brands of Worcestershire sauce.

 I’ll see the sneaky little seniors heading towards the check out the same time as me. Knowing I could easily zip ahead and get to the counter first, I get the guilts and wave them and their overloaded, monthly shopping trolley ahead of me. 

I think the people I most dislike meeting in the shopping centre are old acquaintances I haven’t seen for years. 

When we first spot each other it’s all hugs and “How are you?” 
We chinwag and banter for about ten minutes then say a fond farewell. 
The trouble with shopping centres is that you see them again in about thirty seconds in the next aisle. 

And the next… and the next …and the next. 

With each encounter the ripostes become briefer and pithier. By the final aisle you feel so uncomfortable you’re barely acknowledging each other.

Seriously, give me a screaming brat any day.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Kids in restaurants.




On Wednesday night we took Padraic out to dinner to celebrate his eighteenth birthday. 

Before entering the Hog’s Breath restaurant; just like a high school teacher at the classroom door, I confiscated everyone’s mobile phone. 


When we sat at the table I had to stop myself from vigilantly collecting all the steak knives like I had to do in the good old days. Mind you, Hagar annoyed me by brandishing his knife around with his usual restless fidgeting all night.

I reflected on the awkward and trying incidents that had occurred at bygone meals eaten out as a family.When they were all under twelve years old they were reasonably well-mannered when dining out.

There was one mortifying time when I had to chip Jonah for gesturing in the air and whistling loudly for the waitress. 

It was also a bit embarrassing the time Thaddeus politely asked the waitress, 

“Excuse me but could you please direct me to the urinal?”

Dragging the kids around on holidays had meant a lot of eating in restaurants. The five of them loved travelling around the United Kingdom because back then a full buffet breakfast was included in the room rate. 

They didn’t have a very good mother. She wouldn’t dream of cooking a hot breakfast at home, so they savoured the bacon, eggs and sausages on the menu. 

At Stratford upon Avon we had stayed in a very posh and expensive motel that we were able to secure at half price. We had driven around for hours looking for a motel that could accommodate seven people and didn’t find this place until midnight. 

After a sleepless night, the Beverley Hillbillies, their father and I filed into the pristine dining room the next morning for breakfast. 

It was a vision of loveliness. 

White linen tablecloths, white vases with red roses and silver cutlery adorned the spotless tables. The other aristocratic guests were seated and speaking in hushed tones. 

Seven year old Hagar was in a particularly foul frame of mind and refused to eat anything. We usually skipped lunch after such a big breakfast and I needed him to eat so he wouldn’t be wailing for food later on.

I tried tempting him with as many small morsels as possible. 

Meanwhile, his grousing and petulance attracted haughty and hostile glares from our fellow blue-blooded diners. 

Just as we were leaving Hagar gave a God almighty heave. He puked all over the table, the fine carpet and a couple of the Jacobian chairs. 

Nice.

His father (notorious for his thrifty ways) promised me that he left a hefty tip. I don’t know for sure if he did or not because I didn’t hang around.

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!”

Monday, February 4, 2013

Dealing with Sibling Rivalry.



So the Superbowl football game in the United States is done and dusted. The coaches of the two opposing teams were brothers; Jim Harbaugh and his elder sibling by fifteen months, John. 

Imagine the crap Mrs. Harbaugh must have had to put up with in the lead up to the game; the snide cracks under the breath at every opportunity, the shoving as they passed each other in the hall. 
Testosterone fuelled rivalry reigns with a mighty hand in this household where all four lads are about eighteen months apart in age. 

The intense pecking order is exemplified in innumerable locations and circumstances. Who rides shotgun? Who gets jurisdiction of the remote control? Who gets the big bedroom when someone moves out? 


I could run tours of the house highlighting holes in walls and doors that bear witness to each free-for-all fracas that took place.

The boys had their own distinctive approaches to brotherly combat, and each style was equally malicious. 

Thaddeus was the more passive aggressive of the four. At twelve years of age he was a bit of a techno prodigy and could manipulate programs on the computer that none of the rest of us could figure out how to reverse. 

Using autocorrect he replaced Jonah’s name with ‘dickhead’ and Hagar’s with ‘behemoth’ making it a very aggravating task for them to do their homework. Sick of the constant brawling and verbal slanging matches Thaddeus attempted ‘brainwashing techniques’ by installing an application that flashed an alleged two- second, subliminal screen message promoting ‘peace’ on the screen. 

It failed.

At fifteen he obtained his black belt in Taekwondo and coming to his senses he finally adopted a less pacifist attitude, delivering the occasional front snap kick in the nuts.

Jonah was a little more sinister in his assault methods. 

Taking a full box of staples from my desk he created hundreds of tiny twisted jacks which he used to booby trap every centimetre of Hagar’s carpet. 

Excuse the French but I was f#*king, p#*ed off when I walked into H’s bedroom, barefoot, to put the washing away.

“Hagar the Brazen” was much more unsophisticated and his strategies were not nearly as well orchestrated. 

Even so, gifted as he was in the art of provocation, he could effortlessly raise the ire of the hotheaded, nine year old Padraic.

His favourite taunt was to lock Padraic out in the back yard and watch him getting red-faced and crying through the sliding glass doors. Now it’s all fun and games until something gets broken, which it unsurprisingly did. 

Padraic belted the reinforced glass door so hard he put a metre-long crack in it. After hiding across the road behind a tree in disgrace for about two hours he ultimately returned to face the music. Not that it was entirely his fault.

 Padraic is turning eighteen tomorrow and a miracle has transpired. 

Yesterday big bro’ Hagar walked in with a surprise eighteenth birthday present for Padraic. 

This is the first time Hagar has ever outlayed any of his hard-earned moolah on any of his brothers and I am thrilled.

Okay… it’s a dirty big bottle bottle of vodka but it’s a start!

Friday, February 1, 2013

One person's snake is someone else's sock puppet.


                              

I sometimes wonder if the unsavory things we parents inflict on our kids is what spawns irrational phobias. When I was about five years old I had an illogical fear about taking a bath. My mother would casually mention that it was nearly tub time and I would be consumed with terror, wailing and running away to hide in a cupboard. 

I eventually got over it but I put it down to an earlier incident when my sister and I were in the bath. 

Wayward child that I was, I left the tap running to create a swimming pool effect allowing the run-off to slosh all over the floor. There was so much water it leaked through the floorboards onto my mother hanging the washing out on the floor below. 

She rushed upstairs and screamed blue murder alerting my father. Now Dad is a gentle soul but on this day he lost it and smacked me (lightly) on the face, as that was the only discernable flesh above the tide line. 

I reckon that’s what put me off the bath thing.

My hubby Scotto, is afraid of balloons. I didn’t believe him when he told me but he seriously won’t blow them up or go anywhere near them. The mind boggles as to what that stems from.

Frogs, bugs, thunder, snakes, dogs… pish! They don’t worry me at all. 

Show me a spider though and I’d leave Usain Bolt standing at the starting line whilst I pushed several old ladies to the ground on the way through.

When I was first married to my ex-husband we stayed at an old house at the beach. One day as I stepped into the shower recess, and pulled the shower curtain across, I spied an enormous hairy huntsman perched on the inside of the curtain, its defiant bulgy eyes staring into mine. 
I didn’t dare flutter an eyelash. 

“Come and kill this f$%king spider!” I shrieked to my then husband. 

He sauntered in and perceiving the silhouette of the belligerent bastard through the back of the curtain slapped it hard with his hand. 


And what do imagine happened? 

Like a hirsute missile the huntsman propelled forward directly onto my shoulder. 

We had to buy a new shower curtain with all the wild, stark-naked flagellation that ensued and I didn’t get my voice back for three days from all the screaming.

I might add that not all the screaming was directed at the spider.

Lulu had an intense fear of giant rabbits. Whenever they’d appear on the telly in Kmart ads or whatever she would squeal and hide her face in a cushion. I attributed this irrational fear to an oversight by her pre-school teachers. 

One Easter, whilst all the midgets were out playing on the swings at lunchtime, their kindly teachers painted gigantic rabbit footprints all over the classroom floor. 

On the kiddies return there was purported chaos with terrified infants clinging to the legs of the teachers, high-pitched screeching and petrified four year olds feverishly pointing at the ominous and malevolent tracks.

Now I may be guilty of inflicting a phobia on my own kids. 

All mothers know about the ‘witching hour’ between six o’clock and seven, just before bedtime. When Thaddeus, Jonah and Hagar were all between seven and five, they utilized this time to torment, brutalise and obliterate anything in sight. 

I would be trying to cook dinner and keep an eye on Padraic and the newborn Lulu. Meanwhile the feral trio would be recreating one of the pig killing scenes in “Lord of the Flies”. 

There was only one threat that worked every time.

“Do you want me to lock you outside so the bitey bats with sharp teeth and pointy claws can get you?” I would intimidate in a witch-like voice.

We had a lot of mango trees around our house complimented with an extensive colony of loud and evil-sounding flying foxes that conveniently and regularly descended at dusk. 

I only ever actually locked them out a few times and only for a couple of minutes as the threat was usually sufficient. 

By the third time I locked Thaddeus out he had figured out that the ‘bitey bats’ weren’t anywhere in his vicinity and took himself off to visit the neighbour’s house for dessert. 

But... Hagar at nineteen, still won't go outside in the dark if there are "bitey" bats about.

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Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Mother's Day to Remember






You would assume that with five loving teenage and young adult children, Mother’s Day for me would be a day beginning with a magnificent breakfast in bed, a multitude of thoughtful and expensive presents, lots of funny stories told and family jokes rehashed over a well- presented, delicious lunch…

No. That has never happened.

On the eve of the big day one of them will usually indifferently ask me what I would like for Mother’s Day. This query is normally solicited at about six o’clock when it’s too late to hightail it up to Myers anyway.

“Nothing, nothing at all,” I will reply through gritted teeth. “I just ask that you be pleasant to me for the day.”

The next morning is employed with rushed and secretive phone calls as Thaddeus is enlisted to ferry various individuals to the shops.

One by one the ingrates will front up with a hastily Christmas paper wrapped parcel.

At least now that three of the kids are over eighteen I can usually count on some prescription medicine from Dr. Dan Murphy.

When they were little I would give them money to haggle with at the Mother’s Day stall at school.One year Lulu gave me a chipped statue of a cocker spaniel that I swear I had donated to the bric-a-brac store at the school fete the year before.

They were fiercely competitive about their selected presents back when they were young; mocking and belittling any presents bestowed on me by their siblings. 

One year, Padraic (about eight at the time) had decided to trump the others and sidestep the school stall. He had conned his father into taking him to every mother’s favourite exclusive boutique, Crazy Clarks.

Eagerly eyeballing me in anticipation, Padraic carefully watched for my reaction as I opened my gift.

“Padraic! I can’t believe you bought me a CD! Engelbert Humperdinck! Now stop fighting and don’t listen to Thaddeus, I love Engelbert Humperdinck! What would Thaddeus know? I really love it Padraic!”

“Really Mum?” Thaddeus chimed in scornfully. “Where did you get it Padraic, the two dollar bin?”



I prudently placed the CD on the table and went to the kitchen to make a coffee.

I heard World War Three break out in the lounge. In a condescending and provocative fashion, twelve year old Thaddeus had spitefully opened the cellophane from the CD in order to get a closer look at the artifact. 

With the exquisite gift now defiled by his brother’s filthy hands, Padraic detonated.

He picked up the CD, took off the case, snapped the disc in half, threw it on the floor and stomped off.

That set the tone for the remainder of the day.