‘We are like kookaburras Nome,’ says my youngest brother the other day as he takes Miss Q into his arms.
‘I beg your pardon,’ I say, ‘are you referring to my nose as a beak?’
‘You made the comparison not I,’ he says rudely, ‘but no, actually I’m not. I am referring to the fact that the raising of a kookaburra is a communal effort. Everyone in the family helps. Kind of like what happens here with Miss Q.’
To be fair, ours is an unusual (or unfortunate depending on your perspective) circumstance.
Miss Q, my husband and I have moved into my parents’ place for a couple of months while we await our new rental place becoming available. One brother has returned from living OS and he and his foreign girlfriend are also currently residing under the same roof while they seek gainful employment (which now that I’m a mother I can justify not having. Much easier to say I’m a full time mum than it is to say, oh I’m a performer between gigs).
Then there is the kookaburra brother who is legitimately in between contracts and around the house a lot of the time building things like a meat smoker, (who knew every house needed one) and sundry other relatives and family friends popping in and out of the other spare room.
Kookaburras catch lizards, snakes, even small rats, then eat them, regurgitate them and feed them to their young. Which isn’t too different from what happened here last week when Gregory and I took my parents to a play to thank them for having their quiet, tidy house invaded by our young family.
Leaving Miss Q in the loving, capable and familiar hands of the aforementioned two of her three uncles, off we went to the play, without a parental worry in the world.
As it turned out, it wasn’t them we had to worry about,
It seems our little human is a diva. A tantrum thrower. A determined, opinionated, bottle-refusing punk who gave my brothers such a rough time that when we returned (not four hours later) she had become a more successful form of contraception than the talk dad gave them as young men about facing the consequences of their actions.
Apparently she had no qualms screaming non-stop for twenty minutes, her pitch and resonance so high Dame Joan would have been proud, then promptly stopping, staring at her near deranged uncles and breaking into a wide, gorgeous grin.
That, (as one brother so succinctly put it) was really annoying.
They tried everything. Rocking, wrapping, singing, talking, cuddling, walking, reasoning, pleading, begging, bargaining and finally ignoring. Not a thing worked.
Miss Q, while not looking much like her mother, is apparently behaving in a very similar fashion to the way I conducted myself in the early months of my life. Which is a shame really, my parents left the biggest gap between my next sibling and I owing to my proclivity for annoying, difficult behaviour.
Why does the apple not pitch itself far, far from the tree? If she was adopted I could blame someone else’s gene pool. As it stands, I can only hold Gregory partially responsible.
So there are my brothers desperately trying to feed Miss Q her bottle of expressed breast milk (which - as I’ve stated in a previous blog - is more distressing to obtain than when Giovanni tried to extract blood from a stone) and she greets their efforts with closed eyes, a turned head and when they don’t locate the true source of her food (ie me) she exercises her disgust in a sustained, and ear splittingly enthusiastic fashion.
‘And it gets even worse,’ says one brother as Gregory and I poor him a stiff drink.
‘How could it?’ Gregory wants to know.
‘Well we started to worry that she didn’t like the bottle because the milk wasn’t the right temperature,’ said one brother, ‘so we did what we’d seen in the movies. You know, poor a bit on the inside of your arm and see if it’s too hot.’
‘And that’s what was wrong?’ I ask, hoping I could justify my child’s unreal behaviour.
‘Not at all, it was perfect,’ said the other brother, ‘but I forgot what I was dealing with so I just licked it off my wrist. I licked milk made by you, from your breast off my wrist. I tried to spit it out but it was too late and now I’ll forever know that I’ve tasted my sister’s breast milk.’
‘Ah, I can see how that would upset you,’ said Gregory filling his tumbler just a little bit more.
‘Upset me? It’s horrifying. Disgusting. Don’t you dare tell anyone what happened.’
No little brother, I won’t. I promise.