Updated: Feb 1, 2022
I have five little cousins. ‘Little’ probably isn’t the proper term. I should, really, be saying I have five younger cousins, but these five cousins are even littler than me, and I’m exceptionally little. None of them are exactly ‘mini me’, because a mini me would be very mini. Rather, we share certain attributes that only make sense to our family. I, for starters, am the only girl out of the six short sapiens. This gives me both responsibility as well as a disadvantage. Everyone is aware of the phrase ‘mammies and their boys’ but few of you may have heard ‘nannies and their boys’. If you were to look up this term in a picture dictionary, there would be a photo of my grandmother and her five adorable grandsons center stage (I’m probably in the back somewhere, or cropped out of the photo altogether).
My grandmother’s way of showing her adoration for her five munchkins is feeding them. Even though their accumulated height is probably the size of the average man, these five have infinite stomachs. They couldn’t just eat someone out of house and home, they’d eat the entire village into a homelessness crisis. I have never heard a single one of them refuse food, or state that they were too full. At age three, the second eldest even asked me what ‘full’ meant; as far as he was concerned, that feeling never even occurred to him!
Sometimes I take advantage of their powers. When I don’t want to eat and unapologetically transport the dinner from my plate to theirs, only for it to disappear within seconds. Most of the time, however, their love for food drives me crazy. Recently while sharing a portion of chicken wings with the youngest, he grabbed five forks and stuck each of them into a wing. With his left hand he devoured the chicken and with his right hand he held the other four forks, planning on digging into them next. I made an attempt to take one. His response to this was to slobber all over the wings. Leaving me with the sauce in the bowl, along with the bones he had already picked at.
Despite the fact they will - quite literally - eat anything, of course they all have a weakness. In their case (yes, all five of them) it is Bourbon biscuits. Before they learnt how to walk, they were eating Bourbon biscuits. These heavenly brown rectangles were at the bottom of the food pyramid and the main source of fibre in their diet. The middle child’s first word was bubba which the rest of my family believed to be ‘brother’, but I know for a fact he was requesting a ‘Bourbon’.
Unfortunately for them, there is a catch. There is only one person that loves Bourbons more than they do, and that’s me (the eldest cousin). As I am a million and ten feet taller than them as well as having fork-less hands, I often manage to visit the biscuit tin before they’ve cleaned off their twelve main courses.
Bourbon biscuits have led to some of the greatest wars ever witnessed in contemporary Ireland. They are actually the number one cause of family tension between me and the five little’uns . More so than the TV remote which itself has led to many scraps (one being bad enough to make my uncle travel back to Gorey with the remote in his jeans pocket he got so carried away with the possession).
A quota was introduced on the amount of Bourbon biscuits allocated per person. Considering I am a decade older than the others, I received three Bourbon biscuits to their single biscuit. This was met with support, and led to the downfall of democracy. The five boys went on strike and demanded an increase to their allowed biscuits.
Lies were told; “one is for me and I’m sharing the other with my brother.” Mischievous acts were carried out; the old ‘hiding biscuits in the hood of your jumper.’ They even tried alternative measures by lathering a custard cream in Nutella just to see if it gives the same amount of joy.
The Bourbon biscuits supply came to a halt two years ago. The cause of the stoppage is still unknown. Researchers may blame Brexit, but personally I believe the real reason is a lack of exposure on my grandmother’s behalf causing us to focus more on other substances. I was under the same impression.
As I watched my cousins grow older and get (a little bit) taller, I wondered if they even remembered what a Bourbon biscuit was. Until my last trip up, when they dragged me into ‘the Biscuit Room’ (the room that has the biscuit tin and nothing else). To reveal a packet of Bourbon biscuits that they had eaten in ten minutes flat. All I could think about was that they definitely have changed, because three years ago they would have finished two packets in that amount of time.