This is a post Lisa Oldfield wrote for Mamamia in 2015…
I had only ever once before heard a sound that dreadful.
It was the sound my little dog made when she was hit by a car. The sound encapsulated shock, pain and death. It’s a sound that haunts you, that even on remembering, delivers a gut punch and is impossible to forget.
Last Friday, I heard a similar, agonising high-pitched scream. Except this time it did not emanate from a poor, unfortunate animal.
This time it came from me.
Only minutes before, I’d arrived home from work. I threw my bag and briefcase on the counter, kicked off my heels. My beautiful little boys, Harry, four, and Bertie, two, were sitting with their au-pair, Stella, making play-doh dinosaurs.
“Harry the Heartbreaker and Bertie the Jawbreaker” are how my pair are known to family and friends.
Harry is a gentleman, he loves the ladies, has a wonderful, innate kindness and is something of an intellectual and a lateral thinker. When asked at school “Imagine you were being chased by a dinosaur, what would you do?” Harry replied “I would simply stop imagining”.
Bertie is like a whirling dervish. Incredibly physical and already displaying extraordinary sporting prowess, Bertie enjoys running away at shopping centres and waking me up by swan diving on my unsuspecting person.
But that night, they both looked a little glum. They’d picked up a cold from kindy and were snotty and fractious. I kissed Harry’s forehead - he was warm.
Stella and I decided we’d give them an early night. I’d pop on dinner and she’d give them a bath. Once fed and a story was read, it was off to bed.
Downstairs in the kitchen, peeling spuds, I could hear Stella upstairs running the bath and managing the peanut gallery: “I want to take ALL my dinos in the bath” and “I’m NOT getting in there, Dirty Bertie did a wee ”.
Stella is an angel, like a very much loved big sister of the boys. Never once, in all her time as part of our family, had she raised her voice or lost her temper with them.
That’s why I found it difficult to process when I heard Stella sharply rebuke Harry – “Don’t do that Harry! Come back Harry! STOP IT Harry!”
What on Earth? He must have done something very naughty and out of character.
I put down the vegetable peeler and made for the stairs. Stella, now screaming “Help! Please HELP!”