However, I did not anticipate how intense the storm would get. I was able to quiet Abby's increasing anxiety by remaining cheerful and excited, chanting "Boom, boom, boom!" with as much enthusiasm as I could muster each time the sky began to shake.
Michael did not buy into my act. He started off in the middle of the playroom, continually ducking his head to get a better glimpse into the office side, past the shelf, where the windows are. We have the one on the back wall covered to prevent being blinded by the sunset every evening, and the other is located at an angle that was not easily visualized from where he stood. I'm not sure what he could see, but I doubt it was very much.
It wasn't long before he distractedly crept his way toward me and crawled into my lap, eyes wide and concerned. Abby followed suit, asking to cuddle with me, but with Michael in my lap, the loveseat arm to my left, and Mia to my right, there was nowhere for her to fit. Seeing that her motivation was due to a desire for inclusion rather than fear, I suggested that she cuddle up next to Mia, and I reached my arm behind to rest it on her shoulder as she curled up with a blanket. She seemed greatly satisfied with the solution, and though I still felt a bit guilty, I breathed a sigh of relief.
And so we rode out the storm- Abby and I talking a great deal about thunder, lightning, and rain, and Michael cowering against my chest as he ducked his head back and forth, vainly trying to catch a glimpse of just what was going on beyond the four walls that surrounded him.
As the storm was dying down, Tom took all three kids upstairs to supervise his dinner preparation, and to give me a much needed break. In the hustle and bustle of Tom's cooking activity and the distraction he had playing on his laptop screen for the benefit of the older two, it seemed that the worries of earlier in the day had been forgotten.
Certainly, Michael was his usual self come dinnertime.
|Of course, I would focus just behind his ear, instead of on his face, as he's flashing me one of his best smiles.|
|Better focus, and still handsome, but not quite the same...|
When dinner was over, I cleaned him up and let him run loose for a minute before getting everyone else organized to go downstairs. With Mia in one hand, I reached for one of his to lead him down the stairs, he pulled it away. I tried again, and again. He kept throwing himself down on the floor in protest every time I tried to urge him forward a step or two. Though I know he cherishes his brief forays into the wonderland that is the main floor, I was a bit surprised at his reluctance.
Tom finally had to scoop him up and carry him down, an act which was followed with tears and screaming. Thankfully, Michael collected himself quickly, and that's when I began to notice that he was back at the shelf, peering through to the other side for a better look at the windows beyond. "Boom boom?" he asked, looking to me.
Suddenly attuned to the situation, I crouched down next to him and rubbed his shoulder. "The boom-boom is all gone, Sweetie. All gone." His gaze, unwavering, still brimmed with doubt and anxiety.
I got up and switched on the lights to the other side of the room, so that he could see more clearly. "The storm is over, Michael, " I said. "The thunder is gone. No more boom-boom. See?"
He looked. He saw. He smiled.
"Boom boom," he said.