Monday, 19 September 2016

Drama in the night

Hermaphrodite Mum
Three kids and a single mum

"Blow winds and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow!" was King Lear's famed reaction to the storm. "Where the hell are my children?" was mine last week as I lay in bed listening to rolls of thunder shake our house to its very foundations. 

Lightening and thunderstorm in the night sky
Where are the kids?
© Jaroslav Noska | Dreamstime.com
Normally, a rollicking, good thunderstorm never fails to bring all three children running into my bedroom like rats deserting a sinking ship, but last week as the storm bellowed outside my open window, there was no sign of them. My first thought was: Oh well, I'll just go back to sleep! But then I started to panic. What if Walking Toddler was a gibbering wreck, too frightened even to call out my name? What if one of them has been struck by lightening unbeknownst to me?

Another belt of thunder propelled me out of bed. With my heart thudding, I peered in at Walking Toddler who was stretched out sideways across her bed, butt-naked and snoring wheezily with her teddy bear clutched in her arms. Even as I stood over her, another roll of thunder failed to make her even stir. Evidently the previous afternoon running riot around the soft-play area at her best friend's birthday party had knocked her into a temporary coma. I hazarded a kiss on her clammy forehead and retreated.

The door of Quiet One's bedroom was firmly closed with her friendly Keep Out Or Else! poster emblazoned across its panels. Ignoring current advice, I cracked open the door and popped my head inside. Before I had even stepped over the threshold, a voice called out, "I'm fine, Mum! Go back to bed!"

Onto Middle Child, then, the neediest of my bunch. Surely he would appreciate the comforting presence of his mama as Zeus hurled a few more thunderbolts across the sky. I tip-toed over to his bed and tried to figure out if he was awake. The eyes were closed but there was a slight crease on his forehead. I lent in closer to check his breathing. Suddenly his eyes snapped open and he let out a piercing scream, making me jump out of my skin. Without even acknowledging me, he burrowed back under his duvet.

"Are you okay, darling?"

Nothing. I waited a few moments before re-tracing my steps. So that was it. All those long years of sleepless nights, given willingly in active service, and now I was officially redundant. Back in my bedroom, I parted my curtains and looked out into the storm, channelling my inner King Lear. 

How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child!
 


In the interval between the next flash of lightening and answering thunder, I heard a distant whimper. Immediately I was out the door and down the stairs. In the kitchen, I found the dog, curled up in a ball, trembling with his tail between his legs. Oh baby! I knelt down beside him and wrapped my arms around his quivering body. "It's alright darling, Mummy is here," I crooned into his velvety ear.

He looked up at me with his big, sad, chocolate-brown eyes. "Do you want to come up to my bedroom, sweetie?" He didn't have to be asked twice.