But this morning, it was after breakfast, in the lull when the oldest boy and I were having a coffee and talking about a video game that the screaming started, out of the blue.
The two of us leaped up and ran into the living room.
Scene, one little girl sitting on the floor playing with a Barbie. One little boy playing with an airport, dinosaurs, toy soldiers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. TV is singing"I FEEL BETTER SO MUCH BETTER" from Doc McStuffins. And one little boy, writhing on the sofa shrieking at the top of his lungs.
Sheep being devoured alive by wolves scream less.
It was my Charlie. I rushed over to him and took his hands and said "Charlie what's WRONG?" At this point, he starts twisting my fingers as hard as he can and tries to jam his chin HARD into my face. I'm trained in the autism martial arts, so I flip my giant nine year old into a basket hold and hug him tight and whisper "Shhhh shhhhh it's OK, what is WRONG baby? Do you hurt?" He doesn't answer, he says random words I can't divine meaning from.
Was it the TV? Did Miles pull his hair? Did Julia take something from him? I don't know. He can't tell me.
"All done," he says. I confirm "All done?" And he says "Yeah."
As I am letting go, Miles runs back into the room (when did he leave?) and shouts "I NEED A WIPE!"
Louis darts into the dining room "OH NO MOM HE SPILLED ALL OF YOUR COFFEE ALL OVER THE FLOOR!"
I let Charlie go, and he's now laughing and watching TV, and Louis and I frantically start cleaning the new stain on our dining room floor. I ponder how much a steam cleaner would cost me. It's in desperate need, the Berber is flat.
We scrub and spray cleaner and scrub, and as we're soaking up coffee and scrubbing our eyes meet and we both start laughing. "It's a crazy life," Louis says.