Saturday, March 10, 2012

Kids and Sticks

I'm in the kitchen starting supper. It's a sunny, if crisp, afternoon and the children are playing outside. We have a couple of guest dependents this afternoon, so it's good if they're not in the house causing chaos (trust me, my children do not need any help trashing their bedroom).

As I'm putting stuff on the stove, I look out the window onto the side area of the house and I see a child run by, carrying a stick. This is neither surprising nor unusual, as children at our house are often seen running around with sticks. I have not figured out exactly what purposes the sticks serve, but since no one has come into the house to report either a blinding or a beating because of them, I do not stress. Much.

Back to supper.

Then, a moment later I see another child go by, carrying a stick (a different one, I think, but I can't be sure -- perhaps I should pay attention to that some day). I cannot help but wonder if they're cold out there. It's above freezing, but not by much and I'm sure I saw bare arms. I suppose that if they get cold they'll come in. They're that smart, right?

Back to supper.

Another moment passes, then two more dependents race past the window, brandishing wood. Definitely different sticks. Definitely bare arms. I shudder. My core temperature drops a full degree at the thought of being outside with short sleeves. My metabolism is not as high as it might have been once. That thought brings to mind that I didn't get as long a nap as I wanted, and that I'll have to make up that missing time during tomorrow's nap somehow.

Back to supper.

Another moment, another stick-wielding child. But wait a minute! That kid was a boy! All the kids here to play this afternoon were girls. Where'd he come from?! I turn to look to see where he went, and see yet another child run past. This one is female, but not one of the four registered on the manifest for the afternoon. My brain, still somewhat tuned toward the thought of napping, sluggishly processes this incongruity. My first thought is that there's a Lord of the Flies moment happening outside, and it takes a lot longer to dismiss that thought than it probably should have. I blame the sticks. A full handful of seconds passes before I realize that these new kids sort of look like each other.  Allie's mom must be here to pick her up.

I breathe a sigh of relief. The image of Piggy, freezing his butt off, running for his life from a host of angry girls in short sleeves was just a little too disturbing.