I remember a time when the children’s comfort was our daily goal. To keep the child happy and dry held our undivided attention. Unless she was sleeping, the baby did not leave our arms. And Heaven help us if the toddler’s socks got wet. I suppose you might say we learned that the children are not as breakable as we first thought.
On one sunny day, after Wife dropped off the older children at school, she drove back home. The first thing I should tell you is how certain car seats are placed, and specifically that #7 and #8 are seated next to one another. On some drives those two boys keep each other happily entertained. While on others, you would think they were killing each other. They can be like puppies. One moment gleefully yipping together, and then suddenly one had the other by the ear… literally.
That was why when #8 let out a squawk on that drive,
Wife shouted back at #7, “What did you do?”
#7’s little voice rose above the rattle of the van. “Nuh-ffing! He dumped him water on himself.”
Wife glanced in the rearview mirror. #7 stared over the seats toward Wife, still holding his own little cup of drive-through ice-water. #8 sat rigidly and looked up wide-eyed, as if he were sitting on a tarantula. “He did what?” Wife asked.
#7 rose his chin to shout louder. “He spiwled his soaking water on him. Himsewf!”
At an earlier point in Wife’s career of motherhood, she would have pulled over and changed the child into dry clothes. She would have placed a towel in the car seat. And though she would have reminded the child to be more careful, he would have been reminded in a dry diaper. But somewhere between six or seven children ago, Wife found that the children were much sturdier than they let on.
And that was why she shouted back at #8, “We are almost home. You will just have to wait until we get there. Be more careful next time.”
#8 sat, grimacing as his diaper slowly soaked up the ice water, and wished that he had kept a better grip on his cup.