We Have to Shout Above the Din of Our Rice Krispies
Did you smell what's cooking? Thank you, Flutter. BTW, the cool job I mentioned before was that she used to be Snow White at Disneyland. Is it wrong that I think that's hot?
Today we have Patty, author of The WingWangDoo. The tagline on her blog is "Making shit up since the late seventies." Best. Tagline. Ever.
She also has awesome dogs.
Please welcome Patty!
It's never quiet in my house. Ever-growing boys in their startlingly large sneakers clomp across the floor. Too-large dogs obsess over the same rawhide bone, furtively stealing it and loudly dropping it as they prance from room to room. Prowling cats are in and out all night through their cat door, bringing bedlam and chipmunks and the occasional stray feline back inside along with them.
I'm always the first human to wake up, always finding my husband fast asleep beside me. I struggle to leave the warmth of the comforter across my torso and the labradoodle across my feet. Some mornings I leave the house for the pre-dawn quiet of the gym or the pool, where the hum of the filter and the gentle splash of the swimmers seems reverential compared to the din at my house.
In the dining room I see a cat, the other just inches away. They are clearly up to no good. One has a mouse in her mouth, still alive, playing possum, unharmed and so small. She lets him go as I approach.
I'm too tired for this. I find my car keys, brush my teeth, dress warmly for the first time in months as I feel autumn rising along with the first hints of sunlight.
The cats are now gathered around my son's sneaker, heads dipping in anticipation as they peer under the tongue for a glimpse of their prey. The dog joins them, transforming the scene from Tom and Jerry into Larry, Moe and Curly. Still too sleepy to consider the logical outcome, I pick up the shoe to bring the mouse outside. From midair, he dives for the rug and the chase begins.
Mouse followed by cat followed by puppy followed by cat. I let out an involuntary shriek. On the other side of the wall, my sons sleep the hard sleep of children exhausted by the strange newness and excitement of second and third grade. I consider how many books I've read to them with this same plot. The mouse tucks himself into a corner, safe behind a heavy chest of drawers. The three musketeers gather, all staring at the corner as if I've put them in a collective time out. I close the door behind me and look for the first silvery signs of frost on my overgrown lawn.
The mouse (perhaps the luckiest I've ever seen) is still in the corner when I return, forgotten by the posse as they move on to breakfast and collecting burrs in the weeds and hedges. I know he'll find the crack in the old floorboards where he'll make his escape.
It's a daily struggle to wake our boys. We pat their backs, we talk to them, I sing made-up songs about our lives loudly and off key. Some days I jump on their beds. I can't expect anything short of this daily struggle. Raised amid the loud voices, the howling dogs, the raucous laughter, the house that's never still, they've learned from their earliest days to sleep through everything.
And so we begin another day, some of us considerably earlier than others.