Like all Mamas of Littles, this Mama hears a lot of screaming during her day. Like a lot.
Blood-curdling, horror-movie-caliber screams. Screaming because brother put his feet on her chair. Screaming because Sister ate the last Cheeto. Screaming because sister took her toy and won’t give it back. And with each scream comes my reply, “Is anyone bleeding? Did anyone break a bone? Did furniture fall on anyone? Is there a fire? Is a stranger trying to take you away?” in a vain effort to teach what type of emergency such screaming should be reserved for, and the answer is always, “No.” And so the screaming gets tuned out.
Then God sent me a little gem.
In the afternoons, my children generally play outside in the fenced-in yard while I take 30-45 minutes to cook supper. During this time, there are many pouty faces at the door and trips in and out for water or bathroom breaks. One of our first days of glorious fall weather, my children ages 5, 4, and 2 were playing outside. I could hear bits of their laughter and thought “This must be what heaven is like.” I called them in to wash hands and get ready for supper, and they filed into the house and completed the task.
Then our conversation went a little something like this:
Me: It sounded like y’all were having fun out there.
J, 4yo: Yeah, until the raccoon growled at R.
Come again? Say what? WTH?!!!
SJ, 5yo: Yeah, a raccoon growled at R.
SJ, 5yo: MOM! A raccoon mom and her baby came into the backyard, and R tried to hug it, but it growled at her and scared her.
R, 2yo: Yeah Ma. It bewy scay-uhd me.
So my mouth hung open, and I was speechless for the second time in my life. Like, what do I even say to this?
Me: I am glad it scared you. You should be scared of wild animals. It could have bitten you, R! Guys, THIS was an emergency. THIS is when you scream for Mama. You do not try to touch wild animals, especially ones with babies. Do you all understand me?
All: Yes Ma’am.
So now when one of them screams bloody murder, my reply is “Is a raccoon growling at you? Is anyone bleeding? Did anyone break a bone? Did furniture fall on anyone? Is there a fire? Is a stranger trying to take you away?”