At last: Everyone had pretty much recovered from our bout with the virus from you-know-where.
At last: The weather had turned from wickedly hot and humid to gloriously sunny and clear.
At last: After a morning playing indoors (I must be insane–I gave them all harmonicas at Stephen’s birthday party) I had finally convinced the kids that outside was the place to be.
At last: Inside, alone with the baby, I finished up lunch dishes and then began editing an article I have been working on.
Given my volumes of experience in these matters, I should have realized that this kind of blissful perfection is a fleeting thing. In fact, I don’t believe I was surprised when, moments later, a blood-curdling scream filled my ears. It was such an odd-sounding scream, though, that I paused with my fingers frozen in the air over the keyboard and listened more closely. It was an odd-sounding scream, I realized, because it was actually many screams–from all of the children at once.
Okay, I thought. They must be playing a game.
But something made me go to the front door anyway just to check. As I stepped out the door and onto the front steps, I was greeted by the sight of an hysterical Ambrose running toward me. His arms and legs waved in all directions, his head shook wildly from side to side, his mouth was wide open and bellowing.
Oh good, I thought. This definitely looks like a game.
I started to worry, however, when I saw that he was being followed by Juliette in a similar condition. And that she was followed by Stephen, Eamon, Kateri, and Gabrielle who were also screaming, waving frantically, and racing toward the house. This was no game.
“WASPS!” I finally heard.
“ALL OVER ME!” somebody else offered.
“OOOOOOOOWIIEEEEEEE!…” they all cried.
I hurried everyone into the house where I searched them and killed the few remaining wasps I found on their bodies. Then I looked them over and handed out ice packs for their reddened and swollen sting spots.
That’s one log in the woods they won’t overturn again.
So much for cricket hunting, they all sighed. And so much for my quiet afternoon alone, sighed their mother as she lined up her troop of traumatized patients on the living room couch and reached for the remote control.