No! Not THAT!
It's been raining. Have I mentioned that before? A lot.
Today, the children entertain themselves by pulling the cushions off the loveseats. No allowed, of course. I approach, intending to instruct them to put them back, when I see the debris underneath. Okay then, since the cushions are off anyway, I pull the handheld vacuum from behind one couch.
Seasoned professional that I am, I do a bit of predirecting. "Okay, you guys. I want you all to sit on the floor, right there." I don't turn to my task until everyone is settled. Well, everyone but baby Nigel, who is not in the age that causes my concern. Besides, he won't stay sitting unless I'm watching him, and I won't be able to do that, so no sense in giving the boy an impossible direction and set myself up to be disobeyed.
"Now, I'm going to make a big noise with this thing," (I am. This thing is LOUD.) "and I don't want anyone shouting, understand?" I don't know what it is with loud noises and small children, but run a vacuum in a room of three-year-olds, and almost certainly bedlam will ensue. They shriek, they giggle, they jump, they bounce, they clutch at each other and a frenzy of delighted hysteria. The noise isn't really the problem: the problem is that my back will be to most of them, and in the racing about and screaming, someone is almost certain to get trampled. Best to take protective measures.
Everyone settled, I turn the thing on. The motor whines into its roar, loud and high. I really do hate it. So, it seems, does Baby Nigel. I turn the thing on, he SCREAMS. Well, I assume he's screaming. Not that I can hear him over that damned vacuum, but the signs are there: the mouth wide, the skin reddening steadily. Oh, and the talons of terror imbedded in my thigh. So, kindly caregiver that I am, I give him a cuddle and then put him in the high chair in the next room so I can finish. It takes two minutes, then I snuggle poor baby Nigel while the others put the couch back together.
All is well. For about three minutes, then baby Nigel is SCREAMING again. I can see him. He's in no danger, no blood, no gore, no toenails being ripped off. Why the shrieks?
The others are pulling the couch cushions off again! Poor wee Nigel, he knows what will happen next. He's screaming proactively. Baby Nigel, my very own Early Warning System.