Just a short while ago, as I was printing out a document to review for work, the children were playing on the floor behind me. Without any forewarning, Henry erupted in to a painful cry. When I looked around to see what (or WHO) had hurt him, I immediately spotted his sister standing less than two feet away and holding a wooden Brio train track like she had just completed a powerful overhead serve.
Henry was clutching his face with tears squirting around his chubby fingertips and I was instantly furious. I know that sometimes, the baby is an absolute pill. I know that sometimes, he chases after the kids and torments them relentlessly. I know that sometimes, he screams like a mandrake and requires a lot of my attention.
But barring the use of a straight jacket or vast amounts of duct tape, there is only so much I can do with a lively toddler who truly believes he is the fourth triplet.
Try as I might to stress that the children need to be gentle and remove themselves from a situation when things start getting tumultuous with Henry, they never do. Instead, they pick up what ever happens to be close and pummel their baby brother with it. Or, they kick him squarely in the chest and send him flying across the room. Which heightens an already tense situation and before you know it, I've got a room full of small people brawling and bawling.
It. Drives. Me. Crazy.
So today after this most recent incident occurred, I glared at my daughter and I told her that the next time she hits her baby brother, I am going to hit her and there is going to be BLOOD.
And then, I looked at my two other four-year-olds and added, "THAT GOES FOR YOU, TOO!!"
My daughter cried.
My other children cried.
I felt demonic.
Moments later, my husband smartly decided that an immediate outing was in order and took all four children to run an errand. As my family was walking out the door, I happened to notice that my mother-in-law, Kathleen, had sent us a lovely package that was sitting by our doorstep. I opened the package up and saw that she had included a piece entitled, "Legend Of A Child Waiting To Be Born." It read,
There is an old legend that tells of a child that was preparing to be born. He said one day to God, "I'm told that you will send me to earth tomorrow, but how will I live so little and defenseless as I am?"
God: "Among many angels I chose one just for you and it will be waiting for you ... it will take care of you."
Child: "But tell me, here in Heaven, all I do is sing and smile and this is what keeps me happy."
God: "Do not fret, your angel will sing and smile at you everyday; you will feel loved and you will be happy."
Child: "But how will I understand when people speak in the strange language that man speak?"
God: "Your angel will tell you the sweetest and most gentle words that you could ever hear; and with a lot of love and patience you will be taught to speak."
Child: "And what will I do when I want to speak with you?"
God: "Your angel will put your hands together and teach you to pray."
Child: "I've heard there are many bad men on earth, who will defend me?"
God: "Your angel will defend you, even at the risk of it's own life."
Child: "But I will be sad because I will not see you again."
God: "Although I will always be at your side, your angel will always speak of me and will show you the way to return to my presence." At that moment, a great peace reigned over the Heaven, but the child began to hear earthly voices and hurriedly he repeated softly, "God, please ... I am leaving now ... tell me it's name ... what is my angel's name?"
God replied, "It's name is not important. You will simply call her Mother."
This piece is so beautiful, when I got to that last line I actually burst in to tears. I couldn't help but think about the scene that unfolded at our house less than five minutes earlier. It appears my children have been born to an angel that will threaten to beat them until they bleed if they continue to wail on their baby brother. Isn't that nice?
Oh! Listen? Can you hear it?
I think that sound were the doors of hell flying open for me.