It’s perfectly sunny with a gentle breeze from the NNE at 12km/hr, a smattering of cloud cover and the kind of light an artist would become giddy over.
It doesn’t matter.
When we are not in the Cranky, we live in a house, in a paddock, in a bigger paddock, on a farm. Outside is where its at; a digging pit, a three car undercover concrete space, a bindi free back lawn, a bicycle friendly driveway, a caged trampoline that can be seen from space. Any number of diggers, balls, bikes, trikes and building bits inhabit the tripping zone that is the back yard and verandah.
Yet, they are underfoot. They are siblings. They are breathing each others air and this morning, that is enough. How best to disturb the fragile peace?
Then it happens.
DSS lets out a high-pitched squeal that only dogs and bats can hear. Oh, and his brother. His brother can hear it. Particularly when DSS unleashes the death rattle at kissing distance.
I can hear it too. Oh Lordy, yes I can, and although I have concerns for the irreparable damage caused to my eardrums during a misspent youth listening to country music, said wine-glass shattering squeal inevitably has context.
But then its on. DSX screams at DSS. DSS screams back. Like ping pong of the damned. The dog is slinking off to take sanctuary under the house. The galahs lift en masse from the trees in a pink and grey squawking collective to continue in a chatroom of their own making. It is no more than 30 seconds of Florence Foster Jenkins-esque caterwauling that leaves a squint in your eye and an ‘ Alright, alright, that’s enough’ interjection on your tongue whilst tiptoeing into the melee like a pro-boxing referee.
Now to channel my inner calm and earth-motherly charm.
Explain to DSX that this is DSS trying to tell us something (again). He can’t talk yet. Its up to us to teach him the ways we speak to each other in this house. We don’t reciprocate his squeals with similar tonsil shaking offerings. We offer, (finger to lips) Ssshhhhhhhhh, a long slow reminder to find a quiet voice. Then, we do a quick check in, in sotto voice, is it a hungry noise, a thirsty noise, a toy noise, a ‘look at me’ noise or a hurt noise?
I feel like I go through this performance for my own benefit on a more regular basis than is reasonable. By this point my earth-mother is running out of inner calm. Next is to remove or deflect one or other offended party to an alternative activity. And breathe. Oh yes, remember to breathe. And could someone put the kettle on? We still have the rest of the day to get through.
Next…Top 5 anti-Cranky strategies at home