I walked to my office, followed by my deathly, silent child. As I sat at my desk and switched on the computer, #8 settled at my elbow. The quiet of the morning was shattered; not with the rising sun, but with the exuberance of the nearly two year-old. The wonder of daddy’s desk! Continue reading
I have been a morning person as long as I can remember. Early activities were right up my alley. Rising at 4:00am on Christmas day, was no problem. Getting up at 5:00am for work, is normal. And many of our children are the same. Often, as I am getting ready to leave the house for work, #2 will get up to keep me company. As summer days grow longer, and the sun rises earlier, my company grows. Continue reading
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.
I had a nightmare the other night to rival any modern horror film, complete with psychopaths, remote cabin, and no cell service. For once I was pleased to be wakened at three thirty in the morning by the shrieking of a cheap alarm clock. I shook my head, relieved to be out of that one.
In the predawn I prepared for work, stomping through the house in my heavy boots. While I was brewing a pot of coffee I heard the soft sound of bare feet and muffled whimpers. #3 wandered into the kitchen with her face buried in her hands.
When I inquired what was wrong, she responded in her quiet way, “I had a bad dweam.”
Oh dear, it seemed that my nightmare had not finished its course and had jumped to another unsuspecting victim. I scooped up the poor girl knowing full well just how bad the dream had been. I asked her to tell it to me; for I understood that my children faced their fears easily when a parent is able to share it with them.
She stammered into my shoulder, “I was being eaten by a…” there her words faded off into inaudible sounds.
“You were being eaten by what?” I asked.
“By a…” and again I was unable to make out her words despite the closeness of her mouth to my ear, for her head was resting on my shoulder.
I pushed again. “What was that?”
“I was being eaten by a snake,” she moaned.
“It’s ok little one,” I said, and it was too. Snakes are much easier to handle than psychopaths. Given the choice, I would always choose the former. So I sat down with #3 and counseled her. After a little time I asked if she wanted to go back to bed. She shook her head. Well, I had to leave, so I pulled out my weapon of last resort, the one that always calmed the children down no matter how worried or scared they might get. “Do you want to sleep with Momma?” To that she nodded.
I laid her down on my side of the bed, a sanctuary for the children. After all, bad dreams are more scared of Momma, than she is of snakes.
In the early hours of one frosty morning, I set to work at chasing away the chill. In our home the only heat is our wood burning stove. After I carried in an armful of wood, I split a piece with a hatchet. Somewhere in the process the two older boys woke up. Either the chopping sound or the squeaking door of the stove drew them in like moths to a flame.
#5 and #6 watched with their usual interest. Hovering behind in their pajamas, they offered sticks, paper, and cardboard to help excite the tender flames into a blaze that would send Jack Frost running for the hills. The outcome was that I seemed to bump into the two whenever I moved. Then without warning, they were unredeemabley distracted.
A bug had wriggled out of a log and scurried across the carpet away from the fireplace. #5 jumped to his feet and squealed, “AHHHH, A BUG!” as if he had just witnessed a long dead enemy crawl zombie-like out of a grave.
#6 was safely right behind his big brother also pointing and hopping from one foot to another. They were making enough noise to wake their mother, a truly dangerous idea, and I was compelled to save them from themselves. “I see it! Now shooosh.”
“But the bug, you have to kill the bug,” #5 exclaimed, still hot on the insect’s trail.
I had just gotten a face full of smoke and coughed out, “I’m busy. You deal with it.”
#5 spun around to his brother and ordered, “Watch da bug!” and he ran off down the hallway and into his room.
#6 faithfully dropped onto his belly as to keep a close eye on the retreating pest. He followed it crawling army-style until #5 returned waving above his head a tennis shoe. The hunt was on. They crawled after the insect with the hunting spirit of a tiger, though without any of its agility. The bug almost got away twice.
Finally the death blow fell, and the room lit up with green and yellow lights flashing from the shoe in the little boy’s hand. I think the flashing lights were as much a surprise to the boys as it was to me, for the boys froze when the lights made themselves obvious; and then #5 smashed it down twice more. With each blow the insect became flatter and flatter and the room was bathed in a festive light show.
In the end, while I was attempting to keep my fire alight, the bug when out under a light.