It started last night with the “air raid siren.” Okay, actually it’s the siren to call the volunteer firefighters, but it sounds exactly like those old air raid sirens on MASH, so I imagine there is some creative recycling going on.

About a minute later, this siren was joined by the disaster chorus. You know what I mean, right? That particular, disturbing harmony that arises from the joint wailing of fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances. (Me First use to refer to these collectively as “woo-cars.”) Amazingly enough, no one else was awakened by this. It sounded pretty close, but I couldn’t see anything from our window, so I went back to bed and tried to ignore it. Let’s chalk it up to just another night in the city.

I hate the sound of sirens because I know what they are heralding. It ‘s the sound of someone’s life falling apart, every time.

We had a set of sirens come to our house, almost two years ago now, when Me First slipped getting into the bathtub and busted his head open. I’m not exactly sure how it happened. I was bathing Sister, who was little more than a baby then, and the next thing I knew there was a big kerplunk, and Brother was under water. I scooped him up as fast as I could, and then I saw the blood. It seemed to be coming from his ear, but no matter how much I wiped and dabbed it kept coming in a constant stream that began to puddle up on the floor. It occurred to me that the blood wasn’t coming from his ear. He has a very thick head of hair, so the gash wasn’t apparent at first. It wasn’t very long, maybe two inches, but it was gaping.

I’ve passed out once, years before, so when I saw my son’s skull bone through that bloody, gaping gash and got that feeling like I was slowly backing away into the darkness, I knew what it was. “No!” I cried, or begged, I’m not sure which, or if I said it out loud, and then somehow willed myself back to full consciousness.

All of this occurred in the course of about five seconds.

HRH, who had been playing on the Internet, rushes to the bathroom in response to all the commotion. I calmly, considering, tell him to call an ambulance. His response is to ask,

“What did you do?” in about the most hatred filled, vile voice I’ve ever heard him used. For those who understand Japanese his actual words were オマエは何をしたんだ?

Split second realization that this marriage is probably not going to last no matter how hard I try. Quick refocus and forceful reiteration, “Call an ambulance now.” 今すぐ救急車を呼べ!

I never talk to my husband that way, so that got him moving. I then told him that we were cold, as the three of us were still butt-naked, and to get us a towel.

He comes back with a face towel.


Men. (sigh.)

Anyway, a few stitches, a wrapped up head, a missed weak of preschool, and except for a large scar no one is worse for wear. Well, Sister wouldn’t get into the tub for a month, and she talked about the incident non stop for three months or so, but she doesn’t seem to remember it now. Me First, of course, seems to have learned absolutely nothing from this close call and bounds and crashes through life with just as little regard for his personal safety as ever.

We were talking about this the other day, when I had to scold him, again, for jumping from into the bathtub. “Do you want to ride in the ambulance again??” says Mommy.

He pauses and thinks for a moment, then replies. “The machine where you could see your heartbeat was neat, and they put this pinchy thing on my finger and it didn’t fall off! It was interesting, but I don’t think I want to do it again because the siren was so loud and it hurt my ears.”

I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry….


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