My youngest child has been up since an ungodly hour. My job has been to manage her, and keep her occupied in a quiet enough fashion so that everyone else stays asleep. The activity that fascinated her the most? She spread out her blankey in the middle of the kitchen floor, and placed a bunch of delicate sea shells on top of it. She busied herself taking care of them, arranging them just so, moving them, going back and forth between kitchen and ... wherever the shells are ... and bringing more to her collection.
Each time she added one, or changed one, she would admonish me: "Don't step, mama!" I was under strict instructions to take as much care as she with her shells.
This was tricky: she had positioned herself right in front of the coffee pot.
Still, I managed to step delicately and keep the shells -- and the girl -- whole and happy.
* * *
Dad just barreled through the house, en route from the garage, and went straight to the coffee pot. Big man boots, with no regard for baby blankets, thundered through the little shell babies.
Dad: Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.
Girl: Crying, screaming, gnashing of teeth.
* * *