I rolled over in bed, still half dreaming as the sounds of my children penetrated through the solid bedroom door. They were at play it seemed, though I was not awake enough to tell. Their happy sounds gave life to the still house, waking the walls to greet the sun that was just then rising. I could hear the puppy dash around somewhere, no doubt tormenting #7. I closed my eyes.
The screen door slammed, which sent vibrations through the house. Actually, it slammed several times as all the children rushed outside to see the pink sky that #1 told them about. The house again became quiet, and the early morning doze returned. If I had opened the window I am sure I would have heard them playing on the swing set, chasing one another in a game of improvised tag, or listening to their eldest sister tell stories on the trampoline.
As the house steadily drifted back into the deep morning sleep of Saturday, so did I. As I waited for sleep to again find me, a smile stretched the corners of my mouth. I was in one of those moods when I felt proud of my children just on account that they were playing nicely. I had all the confidence that the older ones would take care of the younger ones. I was sure that they would be fair to each other. And moderately certain that nothing was happening that would require my immediate interference or moderation. Somewhere between dreams and reality, I thought to myself that they were good kids.
With a jolt, as if some malicious little goblin had attached a pair of electric wires to my feet and flipped the switch, I was awake. It took me a moment to realize why. #4 was steadily tapping at the door and asking if they could watch TV. Wife was waking up, but more importantly the baby was starting to stir. “Be quiet!” I hissed as quietly as possible.
“What?” came the little girl’s small voice through the door.
“I said be quiet and go back outside and play.”
Wife had rolled over with thin slits for eyes.
“What?” the little girl repeated. “Can we watch TV?”
“NO” Wife and I shout at the same time. “Go play outside!”
Now the baby was awake. And as #8 began to fuss, all the nice feelings I was having toward my children vanished.