Dawn broke, or more precisely, it was shattered, stomped on, and run over several times by little feet. The cause of this unkindness was #6 screaming like a fiend of hell while #7 screamed back in utter terror. Judging by how the screams progressed, I am assuming #6 was in his little brother’s face.
I was preoccupied getting sick in the bathroom, which took me out of play. Wife was tied down with a sleeping baby. All four of our girls, yes #1, #2, #3, and #4 were gone at two different sleepovers. In other words, the Executioner was sick, the Judge was indisposed, and all the Peacekeepers were on vacation. The chaos was unchecked.
It’s easy to take some one for granted until they’re gone. I thought I had insurance against “Loss of elder child.” I had three others right underneath her. It never occurred to me that I might loose all four at once. This will take some careful scheduling to avoid it in the future.
From within my self imposed sickroom, I heard Wife sacrifice the sleep of #8 by screaming louder than both boys for #6 to stop whatever he was doing. The next thing I heard was Wife walking down the hall to make sure the mischief had ceased. On a normal day, #1 would have taken care of the screaming with her mother’s efficiency, and only called on Wife if her authority waned.
As I crawled back into bed in a relative silence, the baby had started to fuss, I missed my little Peacekeepers. The girls take on a responsibility premature for their ages. In our large family maturity is highly prized, and our eldest are quick to develop it. When I step back and look at the entire picture, I think it’s a natural survival technique. If older children did not learn to help with their younger siblings, well someone’s bound to get hurt. I think if my girls had not become so helpful, I might have become a sailor.