The Random Nature of Rain

Sam is a random person. I don’t mean that he doesn’t do things that aren’t entirely predictable; I would not, for instance, when he was four and visiting a local fire station, have left him, unattended, in sole charge of the hose, while I pointed out the target he was to aim at. That sort of trusting behaviour is, frankly, asking for trouble. Neither would I, at around the same age, have left him with open cups full of any sort of liquid (particularly milk). (It wasn’t that I didn’t try to get him to drink out of a cup-without-a-lid for some years, but the trying was in usually short-lived bursts.) I also have to admit to a certain smug sense of glee that I was not the one locked out of the house when I had popped out to fetch some logs for the fire. In the rain. Neither was I responsible for the Engine Oil Incident.

It’s just that, on the odd occasion that you think that all is trotting along nicely, everybody and everything doing what you think they should, something happens, usually Sam related, which surprises you. Like when I returned home late for some long forgotten reason or another to find the boy tucking in to my tea. The tea which had appeared on the table only seconds before. His own portion of which the boy had already consumed. In Sam’s defence, he is not the only one of my darlings who has caught me out sitting on my laurels. A had a good go at raising my blood pressure the day he cleaned the toilet with my make up brushes, and L has perfected a line in injuring herself at inopportune moments.

There is a rather depressing inevitability, though, about the sleep patterns in our house. At first, I couldn’t figure out why Sam was constantly getting out of bed at all hours of the night when he started school. Shouldn’t he be tired, we asked ourselves in exasperation? When this happened after every single start of term for three or more years, I started to cotton on. It had, I suspect, something to do with being overly stimulated, coupled with a certain sense of anxiety on his part that if he didn’t get up he might be in danger of missing something.

These days, though, the problems with sleep occur not at the start of term (after eight years of schooling he has pretty much got used to it), but with the start of the summer. That moment when darkness lifts and the morning chorus starts at an ever earlier hour sets my heart sinking. This is because, even though he is pushing thirteen years old, we still cannot quite persuade him that it is night time when it is light. Sam must be convinced that we are all a bunch of complete lazy bones.

In the interests of sanity, we have tried many, many methods in order to keep the boy in his bed, with varying degrees of success. Clocks with sleeping and waking bunnies (do not disobey the bunny!), charts (with and without footballs), with siblings, without siblings, heavy duvets, no duvets, black out blinds covering every single window, a plethora of techniques, none of which have really worked, come the summer months. We can go for weeks without any trouble, and then something random will kick off a run of broken nights. Something that we have little, if any, chance of discovering. Nights like these have a tendency to slide into one long blur, but there is one in particular that remains in my memory with almost startling clarity.

Sam had been visiting our room in typical nocturnal fashion (dancing about by the door – no response, standing by the bed, huffing – no response, poking in the eye – grunting response), and we had reached the point of lying in bed, refusing to get up to the latest request to sort out the funny duvet or the funny pyjamas, issuing the stern command,’ GO BACK TO BED,’ in no uncertain terms.

The conversation went a bit like this:
Sam: It’s raining.
Us: We know. Go back to bed.
(Stumbles back to bed.)
(Returns after a few minutes.)
Sam: It’s raining.
Us: We know. It was raining when you went to bed. GO BACK TO BED.
(Stumbles back to bed.)
(Returns after fewer minutes.)
Sam: It’s raining.
Us: We know! It was raining when we went to bed. It rained all day. GO. BACK. TO. BED.
Sam: (Returns almost instantly.) It’s raining in the ceiling.
Us: Right! That’s it! (Adopts stance of marching of child in no-nonsense fashion back to bedroom.) ARGH! IT IS! IT IS RAINING FROM THE CEILING!

It’s amazing how much midnight blundering two small children can sleep through, when you come to think about it. Not even the discovery of a burst pipe, much swearing, the finding of buckets (protracted – why can you never find one when you need one?), climbing in the loft (crashing and carrying about of ladders), and propping up of umbrellas to protect said sleeping babes from the gentle pattering of an interior monsoon could rouse them from their slumbers.

Which just goes to show that keeping on your guard where your children are concerned is not necessarily a bad thing. You never know when you might need alerting to the random nature of rain.

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3 thoughts on “The Random Nature of Rain

  1. I really enjoyed your story! and the mini-play in the middle! All children have their
    ‘unpredictable’ sides – something they do or say (and it’s usually say!) which is quite a surprise (or embarrassment!) It helps to keep us on our toes! I look forward to your next blog. E

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