We last left Cricket witnessing a discussion between her parents about whether she should have her own mobile phone after she carefully dunked her Mum’s phone in the cat’s water bowl. Hoot was so alarmed, he wrote another letter to the Management announcing his intention to roll a poo across the familial abode.
… ‘I know it seems ridiculous, but this generation will be connected from the very beginning, so maybe it’s not such a big deal, Mark.’
‘Yes, but I’m not sure the very beginning needs to be before Cricket can even talk.’
Talking is going to be the most epic thing that will ever happen to me. I’m going to call the CEO of the world the day I start talking. I’ve always wanted to talk to Mem Fox.
‘Well obviously it’s not to make phone calls on, it’s just so she isn’t so obsessed with mine. She can have my old iPhone 4 and we can just have music and photos and videos on it for her.’
‘I don’t know sweetheart, it seems wrong to give an 8 month old a mobile phone.’
‘Yes, it does, and I’ve already acknowledged that and I don’t disagree, but you don’t have to spend all day wrestling with her and then find your phone in the bottom of Hoot’s water bowl.’
‘Did you put it in rice?’
‘It was immersed, in water and cat spit, possibly for hours, I’m pretty sure it was beyond rice.’
‘You didn’t look at your phone for several hours? Really?’
Mum gave Dad a withering look. I know what withering looks are because I’m usually the cause of them.
‘The empathy is overwhelming Mark. And no, it probably wasn’t hours, but it was at least one hour. I do have other things to do than stare at my phone all day.’
‘I don’t doubt it, but I do wonder if you hadn’t used your phone so much around Cricket in the first place we wouldn’t be having this problem. Wasn’t it one of the mums from your mother’s group who said you shouldn’t expose a baby to a mobile at all?’
Gasp! My life without the magic rectangle would barely be worth living.
‘Yes, darling, the very same mum who sews her own baby wipes and thinks the 100% organic veggie pouches from Coles are devil’s food and most likely sterilizes her own nipples in 500 degree steam baths before each feed. The mum I’ll never ever ever match up to, whose breasts are gravity-defying alien life forms, who wears perfectly appointed make up every day and has a blonde bob. A bob, Mark, a BOB.’
Mum burst into tears. Not the pretty, quiet, Hollywood tears where people smile kindly and hot air balloons drift across an orange sunset – the loud, snot dripping kind that sound like Horshack from Welcome Back Kotter.
‘What you mean she makes her own baby wipes? How do you make a baby wipe?’
Even at 8 months old I know that that’s not what Dad should’ve focused on from all the things Mum just said. From my vantage point sitting on the floor, it’s hard to see Mum’s face properly, but I can see her feet and she’s stuffing them into her shoes with some ferocity. Shoes means business.
‘You’re an arsehole. I’m going for a walk.’
It took me a few precious seconds (I was still musing over ‘arsehole’) to realise Mum was going for a walk WITHOUT ME.
‘But she’s crying now!’
‘Yes, she is, you need to comfort her.’
I strain my whole body as far as it will strain towards Mum. I move about an inch. My existence is just one, big exercise in frustration.
‘But she wants you.’
‘So she does. Good luck.’
And she’s gone and I’m beside myself with grief. Dad picks me up and I scream into his face as loud as god will allow, IS SHE EVER COMING BACK?! Dad looks alarmed which confirms my suspicion that’s she’s never coming back, so I cry louder and harder then I ever have in my long and illustrious career. Dad panics now and grabs his phone out of his pocket (I guess he’s not keeping it in his Doodle Bag today) to ring Mum to come back but it doesn’t connect and I shove three fingers hard into his right eye socket and scream into his left eye socket as hysterically as I can – I DROWNED MUM’S PHONE IN HOOT’S WATER BOWL, REMEMBER?! WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO? WE’RE DOOMED!!
And just at that moment, Hoot walked past us pushing a big round poo in front of him like he was an elephant in the circus pushing a barrel of monkeys.