I was standing at the bathroom sink getting ready for work when small foot steps tumbled up in the hallway outside. Gideon had hunted me down and was now patting gently on the door to get my attention.

“Just a second little guy!” I called through the door. “I’m almost done.”

He whimpered a few times while he continued his pitiful assault with the pads of his hands.

“It’s okay, Gideon,” I called again, rushing through the final stages of combing my hair.

But before I could get to the door he was suddenly joined by a set of stomping feet coming down the stairs and a horrific agonizing wail. His sister Lydia was coming and it sounded as if she were fleeing from someone who had just attempted to saw her in half. The nerves in my spine sent me into spasms at the sound of her mournful howl. The shrillness stabbed me with a million tiny swords. An animal part of my mind activated and I rushed to the door and flung it open to see what horrific atrocities had befallen my delicate middle child, eager to defend and heal.

But when I opened the door I found her quietly leaning over her little brother just outside the door. She looked up at me with her innocent blue eyes and smiled. “Oh see,” she said excitedly to the little man. “I told you! That is how you cry if you want Mom or Dad to open the door for you.” She sweetly pat her young apprentice on the shoulder and hurried back up the stairs.

The two of us watched her go. Then we shared a curious look. “Here,” I said to him, “You’ll be safer with me.” I reached down and carried him into the bathroom. Then I turned and closed the door behind us.