I have mentioned previously about God Sakes love for all things miniature and his unfortunate inclination to eat said tiny toys. Well Granny also had a predilection for the pint sized. To him, every itty-bitty item was somebody’s baby and, like his brothers before him, his favourite were prehistoric monsters. Plastic dinosaurs (or dinoos as they had been so named by the terrible trio) were everywhere and even though the Brontosaurus was occasionally seen grazing on the T-Rex, and Stegosaurus could sometimes fly, Granny loved them.
It was a cute obsession from our chubby-cheeked cherub that frequently drew a chuckle from family and passersby, until the unfortunate incident at the fancy pizza parlour. Someone had ordered a Mediterranean pizza that was topped with scallops, mussels, prawns and barbeque octopus. It smelled fantastic but was destined never to be eaten, for as it was placed on the red and white checked stereotypical table cloth, Granny’s inner demon let fly with a blood-curdling,
“WHO KILLED ALL THE BABIES?”
The sight of baked hoods and charred tentacles were too much for Granny to bear and I was forced to take him for ice cream to calm him down. Apparently the pizza was really nice. I guess I’ll never know.
Later that year Granny got his own baby to care for when the stork dropped our fourth son down the chimney. With dark curly hair, large brown eyes and a big beautiful smile, number four quickly became known as Mini Me and has lived up to the title ever since.
The Lego Revelation.
The arrival of Mini Me had necessitated a move to a larger house, the purchase of a bigger car and a mortgage akin to the national debt. Six people just do not fit in a Camry no matter how hard you try and although iDad had considered using the boot space (especially for those long holiday miles) the need to keep my license always outweighed the temptation.
Our children were very happy though, in spite of my threats to shove them into the luggage pod on the roof if they didn’t keep their hands to themselves. In the morning they would race me to the front door as I left for work. Breakfast covered fingers smeared my suit with love and Weetbix as I staggered up the hallway and extricated myself from the apartment. Their enthusiasm was no less exuberant when I returned home, only this time it was tomato sauce and fish fingers that coated my clothing. The local dry-cleaners still send me Christmas cards as a thank-you for helping to put their kids through University.
A house full of cubs tends to lead to a floor covering of pre-school detritus and the most prevalent mess at our place was Lego. Colourful bricks, wheels, critters and people littered our lounge room, bedroom, hallway and every other place there should have been carpet or ceramic tiles. It clogged the vacuum cleaner, disappeared under the refrigerator, went through the washing machine and often found itself within the blades of my lawn mower. The kids loved getting it all out, iDad hated putting it all away.
Unfortunately Mini Me had developed a medical problem that caused him pain whenever he went wee-wees so, after a few months of almost zero sleep, his parents were not much better than zombies. Oh sure we avoided nibbling on our neighbours brains, and our hygiene was more than acceptable, but the shuffling shadows of human beings we had become left us frequently drooling on the couch and falling asleep at the dinner table.
The doctors couldn’t seem to work out what was wrong with Mini Me, yet the bills kept coming in. The economy was still holding its breath after September 11 and we had another little miracle on the way. The mess, the lawn, the bills, the asthma, the lack of sleep… It was a hard time for the parents of four little boys and the pressure was beginning to take its toll. Then, when life seemed at its lowest point, something wonderful and just a little bit painful happened.
It was either late in the night or early in the morning, my eyes would not focus on the alarm clock and all I knew was that it was still dark outside, I staggered toward back to the bedroom after comforting No. 1 through another Night Bear. In the dim I did not see the booby trap laid out for me and suddenly found my left foot had decided to introduce itself to the smallest, sharpest piece of Lego in the pack. Now I was awake! Crimson spots dribbled from the gash on my sole as I began scooping up the playthings, but I stopped almost immediately when I noticed the intricate pattern in which they had been laid out. The boys had created an entire Neanderthal village complete with cavemen, palm trees, dinosaurs and farm animals. The Stone Age family had a mother, a father and four children living happily in their little plastic cave. A McDonalds French Fry was the centrepiece of the display. I guess they had hunted and gathered it from the locale fast food franchise, Flintstones style.
Next to the Lambeosaurus was a bunch of drawings by Granny where he had practiced writing his name and spelling the words ‘I love mummy and daddy’. Underneath the drawings was a booklet written and illustrated by God Sakes called ‘These Elephants.’ It was a story about a daddy elephant and his son, and all the adventures they did together. Life no longer seemed so challenging.
The Tooth Fairy.
I’ve never been entirely comfortable holding a piece of someone’s head in my hand but losing a tooth is a natural occurrence and with five kids, well the tooth fairy was going to need an assistant. The American tradition is to hide the fang under the child’s pillow and some pillow cases even have a little pocket to place the chomper within. In light of the thrashing antics of No.1’s night terrors we thought it would be wiser to place the tiny tusk in a glass of water and leave it on the sink for the fairy to find. This was a great idea which served us well for many a discarded denture until the one fateful night that iDad arrived home late from the office Christmas party, a little worse for wear. Staggering into the darkened kitchen, trying desperately not to wake the family, iDad topped up the glass of water he found and drank it.
Have you ever heard the saying when something comes back ‘to bite you in the bum’? Well I know what that actually feels like. Thankfully it was only one of God Sakes front teeth and not a molar or, Heaven forbid, a fifty-cent piece.
One Little Girl.
A couple of months later we brought our fifth and final baby home. One little girl was here, and she was perfect. She was also a little girl, something we were not entirely used to in our household. Hand-me-downs were no longer acceptable. Ponies replaced the Pachycephalosaurus. Pink and purple became the primary colours instead of red and green. The boys didn’t know what had hit them and neither did iDad.
Mud pies, tree climbing and footy became bubbles, ballet and Barbie. Fairies invaded the living room and Princesses were everywhere. One by one the Matchbox cars were replaced with all manner of dolls. Some burped, others cried and a few even soiled their nappies. Only the ubiquitous Lego, with its asexual appeal, remained acceptable. Life as we knew it was inexorably altered forever, but we didn’t care.
From the moment she arrived One Little Girl was the master of her domain. No.1, God Sakes and Granny would rush to pick her up at the slightest squeak, lugging her around the house and playing with pink ‘things’ to keep her amused. Even Mini Me was besotted.
Our last first birthday was a magnificent experience. More time went into the creation of the culinary masterpiece that was the cake, than the rest of the fare we prepared. With marshmallow mushrooms, magenta butterflies, silver cachous and mauve coloured icing that still does not appear in any paint chart on the planet, a bemused One Little Girl finally got to blow out her candle. It was a day I will never forget.
Mini Me and One Little Girl are in primary school together. Granny and God Sakes are almost finished high school. No.1 is studying at college.
Where did the time go?