Simon and Amber were married. The baby is due soon. Maddie is silent regarding updates about the birth, however. Shortly after the wedding, she stopped talking about home life with her father. I know something’s brewing.
Kris married Spider Rodrigo, and left the PICU to tour with Kushion. Her day shift position is open. I wonder if I should take it? I’d miss my friends on night shift, and I don’t know if I want to deal with the doctors, phone calls and busy-ness of day shift. The idea of a normal sleep cycle is appealing.
* * *
I’m finishing the housework, and thinking about dinner when Simon’s car pulls into the driveway. Before he can set the parking brake, Maddie ejects herself from the passenger seat, leaving the car door open. She’s obviously upset as she bursts through the front door. Simultaneously, the phone rings. Maddie yells, “I don’t want to talk to her! Tell her I don’t want to talk about it!” while running into her room, and slamming the door behind her.
I put down the vacuum cleaner and pick up the ringing phone. From the living room window I watch Simon back out of the driveway and drive away.
“Niki, it’s Amber. Put Maddie on. I want to talk to her.”
“Amber, hi. Maddie, uh, doesn’t want to talk to you right now. She’s pretty upset. What happened?”
“I want to talk to Maddie.”
“That’s not going to happen Amber. Tell me what happened.”
“Your daughter is bullying Wade.”
Your daughter? Hmmm.
“I’m surprised to hear that. Maddie thinks the world of Wade. She calls him her little brother.”
“Well things have changed since Simon and I got married. Maddie’s become a stranger. She won’t talk about the new baby, and she’s picking on Wade. This last time is too much.”
“What did she do?”
“Two things, really. First, last night at dinner while Simon and I are talking, Wade throws up milk all over the table. I took him to the bathroom to clean him up and take his temperature, and he tells me he drank an entire quart of milk in one sitting. I asked him why. He said Maddie made him do it.”
“How did Maddie make him drink an entire quart of milk at the dinner table in front of you and Simon without your knowing it?”
I’m starting to wonder about Amber. And Simon.
“Well, I asked Maddie that. She said she dared him to do it, one glass of milk at a time.”
“She pretended she was racing him. She poured herself the last glass of milk from another carton, and then poured Wade a glass from a fresh carton. She dared him to finish his glass of milk before she finished hers. So he did. Then Maddie told him, “I bet you can’t do it again,” so he did it again, and again, until he drank the entire quart. Then he threw up.”
I composed myself to keep from laughing. “Amber, I’m sorry. How old is Wade again?”
“He just turned five.”
“Well, he’s no rocket scientist,” I think to myself, but of course, that doesn’t excuse Maddie torturing the boy.
“What else did Maddie do to Wade?”
“This afternoon she took a brand new box of Lucky Charms cereal, emptied it, and picked out every last marshmallow charm, all the pink hearts, yellow moons, and green clovers. She ate them, and then put the oat cereal back in the box, and sealed it again. When Wade came home he wanted a bowl of cereal and cried because there were no marshmallow charms. Maddie told him the cereal company was to blame. She helped him write a letter to complain. I found out when he asked me to mail the letter. Maddie has to stop picking on Wade.”
Now I’m thinking my daughter is a comedic genius, but I’m going to have to teach her to use her power for good and not evil.
“Amber, I see why you’re upset, but isn’t this just normal sibling behavior? Maddie’s been through a lot of changes lately. Maybe she’s regressed a little bit.”
“I won’t have this behavior in my home! Your daughter is a bully. No wonder Simon left you.”
Okay, she’s pregnant. Allow the woman some slack.
“Look Amber, I’ll talk to Maddie. For all of our sakes though I think it’s best if you leave Simon’s and my marriage out of this.”
“Do something about your daughter!”
I’m left holding the phone after Amber slams hers down on the other end of the line.