The boy who stayed at our house last night last night informed me, after the kids had been sacked out for ten minutes, that he sometimes starts coughing when he's asleep. "Not too often," said Ralph [not his real name]. "Maybe once a week, or twice." This didn't seem important enough for all three kids to get up to tell me.
"Okay," I said.
"You don't understand, Mom," Smedley interjected.
"Yeah, when Ralph coughs he needs water right away, Mom!" said Sparky. Still no reaction from their unconcerned mother (me).
"And if he doesn't get water, he passes out," Smedley offered. Passing out while lying in bed -- what's the problem?
"All three of you have water, right?" I asked.
"Yes, but Mom? If he doesn't get water in time, he passes out!" Sparky reiterated.
"I heard that," I said, but I was cut off.
"And I could die," Ralph stated flatly. Then he coughed.
"He could DIE, Mom!" chorused my daughters.
"Really," I said, but I was thinking, that would just be our luck, right? "Well, how do you handle it at home, Ralph?" I asked. This would have been good information to have a handle on before 9:30 p.m. And he told me that one or another of his siblings was always in the room with him, to wake him up so he could drink water so he wouldn't pass out so he wouldn't die.
"Oh," I said.
"I have a plan, Mom!" Smedley exclaimed. "When Ralph starts coughing I'll throw my inflatable ball down at him -- the one with sand in the bottom that I got at the circus? -- because I'll be up above him in the bunk bed."
"Good plan," I said. It's good to have a plan. "Okay, goodnight everybody. No coughing, no passing out, and no dying tonight, okay?" A chorus of goodnights.
All three kids were at the table for pancakes this morning. I like to think it's the lure of my homemade pancakes that kept Ralph alive, but I think it was probably just a bye week for Death.