It is the sound that every parent hates to hear; the actual real-life scream. A genuine wail of terror from your child.
A few weeks ago we were at Mamaw’s house and Jane was excited to show off her new sheep. The sheep, a lamb at the moment, was in the pen with the goats near the back of the farm. There is a gate at the edge of the backyard that leads to the goat pasture and the goats were hanging out in the woods beyond the chicken house. Jane asked if she could go and catch her lamb to show it off to us. Supermom and I agreed.
Toby had made the visit to Mamaw’s house and he was hopping around the back bedroom. Doing something stupid like chewing old wires or trying to jump in a toilet. I walked to the back of the house and just as I was picking him up I heard the screaming. A panicked scream from Jane. No words, just a shrill scream that didn’t stop. I could hear Supermom yelling, “What is it?!? What is wrong!”
The only response was more screaming. Everyone in the house rushed to the back door in a frantic curiosity. My heart was in my chest and I played out dire scenarios in my mind.
A Grizzly Bear was chasing her through the field. An anaconda was swallowing her whole. She was caught in a flash brush fire. A masked assailant had jumped out of the bushes and was stabbing her with an ice pick in slow motion.
Supermom shouted directions at her, “Slow down! Calm down! You are going to hurt yourself!”
These small clues helped my panic. She obviously wasn’t in a fatal scenario. Supermom is asking her to calm down. I heard metal clanging and a thump of something hitting the ground. Jane continued to scream. I made it to the backdoor and surveyed the scene.
Jane was laying on her side in the backyard about ten feet from the four foot tall gate to the goat pen. She was missing one boot and tears were streaked down her face. I couldn’t see a bear or a puma so I assumed predators were not the problem. I raced out the door and down the hill. Jane could barely talk through the heaving sobs. When she finally got enough composure to speak it was only a few words, “Mean… Guinea’s…”
Apparently a small grey flightless bird was the cause of all this commotion. It had recently hatched about fifteen eggs and was protecting the young by flapping wings at squawking at Jane. She thought it was trying to murder her and she ran faster than most Olympic sprinters. She is only eight years old and a good two inches shorter than the gate to the goat pen. That didn’t matter because she ran vertically up the gate and once she was at the top she did a swan dive towards the house, like the grass was an ocean and she was swimming to safety.
I thought I would wet myself from laughing. The fact that a three pound bird had scared a fifty pound kid out of her mind was hilarious. I know the terror had to be real but it was just SO DAMN FUNNY.
My father tells me that I reacted in a similar way to a German Shephard when I was about six. I run slower than most people walk so hearing I outran any dog seems like a tall tale. I wish I had been awesome enough to run out of my shoes and achieve short term flight. Jane is my hero.
If you have trouble showing concern because you laugh until you cant breathe, this post is for you. We probably won’t win parent of the year. Oh well. You’re welcome.
Underdaddy to the rescue.