"What's the matter, sweetie?" | D.H.
Prompt #18: “What’s the matter, sweetie?”
#20: ”I don’t want to hear your excuse. You can’t just give me wet-willies.“
#31: “I haven’t slept in ages.”
“Love, could you give mummy a little space, please?” You smiled at your daughter exasperatedly, after nearly tripping on her little toes as you turned to the stove to tend to the boiling noodles.
“I wanna help,” the three-year-old whined, trying to grab at anything she could on the counters above her.
You gently guided her hands away from the countertops, away from the knives and food and lit stove. You appreciated her gesture, but with your five-month-old son already against your breast, you quite literally had your hands full. “Thank you, baby, but I really – no, don’t touch that – I really need some space, okay?” You adjusted your son in your arms and turned around to find something in the refrigerator. The shrill scream from your daughter that pierced the air startled you, making your drop the glass jar of pasta sauce onto the wooden floor below you. It scared your son, too, his face no longer feeding on you but twisted in a pained cry instead. Now you had two screaming children on your hands and a hazardous mess on the floor. “Daniel!” You hollered for your husband desperately while putting your wailing son in his high chair.
Dan was already at the bottom of the stairs when you called, responding immediately to the crashing and screaming commotion in the kitchen. “What the bloody– Oh, my God,” Dan hurried toward your screaming daughter and knelt to her level. “What’s the matter, sweetie?“ He searched her little body for any sign of injury, stopping when he saw her fingers in her mouth.
“I touched the stove,” she hiccuped between sobs, “I hurt my hand, Daddy.”
“Come ‘ere,” Dan picked her up and carried her to the bathroom counter, holding her hand under the cold tap and letting it run, “hold that there for me, yeah?” Dan went to the kitchen once more in search for burn relief cream and was welcomed by the chaotic sight again. There you were, standing by a pool of tomato sauce, screaming baby beside you, with your shirt only half-on from your son’s interrupted feeding session. Your hair was beginning to look a mess too, you couldn’t stop nervously running your hands through it. Dan caught your eye and began to chuckle, it was a funny sight and he couldn’t stay serious for long.
“It’s not funny, Dan,” you sighed, allowing yourself a small smile. At least he was seeing the bright side. You pulled down your shirt when you caught him staring and switched the stove off.
“It’s a little funny,” he laughed, finding a tube of burn cream and returning again to his little girl. You went back to picking up shards of glass from the floor, thankfully there were only a few large pieces you had to find before wiping up the sauce mess, and you attended back to your crying son.
“I know, bear,” you cooed, “we’re all hungry,” you picked him up and brought him over to the sofa, hoping a change of environment would calm him down and encourage him to feed again. Within minutes, Dan came into the lounge with your daughter on his hip, a tired and tear-stained smile on her face, fingers in her mouth. You knew her burn couldn’t have been too bad, but you were relieved Dan could get her to smile again. “All better, princess?” You asked her as Dan sat down with her next to you. She smiled at the nickname and nodded, brown curls bouncing with her head.
“Just a little boo-boo,” Dan commented, adjusting the girl in his lap and leaning his head on your shoulder, watching you feed your son, “right, love?” He looked to the smiling girl and coaxed her hand out of her mouth, “Get your hands out of there, you goof.”
Dan brought her hand down but the mischievous little girl was inspired otherwise, sticking her small fingers playfully into her father’s ear, giggling wildly. “Hey!” Dan shouted, “What’s this about?”
She giggled again, putting her fingers back in her mouth and once more into Dan’s ear, making him yell out again, “I burned my fingers, Daddy, I’m making them better!”
He couldn’t help the smile that spread across his face, eyes crinkling and dimples showing as he laughed, “I don’t want to hear your excuse, you can’t just give me wet-willies!” He grabbed her hands gently and held them down, neither of them at this point holding in any laughter. “You think you’re funny, don’t you?”
The girl nodded and squealed as she charged toward his head again. As cute as the scene was, you were rather peckish and growing tired, your son too, and the howling pair certainly wasn’t making the situation better. You shifted irritably in your seat and laid your head back against the cushions and shut your eyes.
“Tired, love?” Dan asked you, still holding your daughter’s hands and playing with them softly.
You hummed and nodded in response, craving the nap you never got today. “I haven’t slept in ages,“ you groaned, “I think I’m dead.” You really did feel like it, you couldn’t remember the last time you had five minutes to tend to your own needs. Not that you didn’t love caring for your family, but you were exhausted. Dan frowned and set your daughter on the ground and whispered something in her ear that led her to gallop toward the adjacent playroom, and he looked between you and your son.
“Give him to me,” Dan said, reaching for the fussy baby. You began to protest, not wanting him to take pity on you, but he shook his head and took the child. “I’ve got him, love,” he said, pressing a kiss to your temple and pulling you up, “you go get some sleep, I’ve got them.” You muttered a thank you and leant into him for a hug. You felt your body growing heavier by the second and finally convinced yourself to walk upstairs to bed after kissing your baby’s head and Dan’s lips. You thanked the powers that be for Dan, as it was in these moments that you realised you’d probably be dead without him.