"If you're going to act like wild animals," I told them, "Then go play with the squirrels."
It took less than two minutes for my three to come to grips with the sad truth that the squirrels did not want to play with them.
They returned to the front door, only to be met by a locked screen.
"Let us in!" they wailed.
"Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin!" I replied. "In five minutes, I'll be done mopping and then you can come back inside."
My suggestions for filling this ridiculously long interval of time--riding bikes or playing on the swing set--were soundly rejected on the grounds that the named activities were "too boring" and "no fun." Evidently, what was not boring and lots of fun was hurling insults at me through the screen door.
"You are so mean!"
"If I get a zillion mosquito bites it is going to be all your fault!"
"Those wild animals are making very ugly noises," I said as I closed the door completely, "And I don't want to listen to it."
Having lost their initial audience, the wild animals moved to the middle of the cul-de-sac, where they attempted to acquire a larger one by increasing the volume of their howling.
"My mom is never ever going to let us inside ever again!" screamed Cortlen.
"We are going to have to sleep outside forever!" cried Kellen.
"And eat sticks!" added Camber.
After 9am, such outbursts go unacknowledged, but at 7:45am, I was worried that the beasts' tortured moans might prompt one of my neighbors to call to animal control.
"Get over here right now!" I hissed through an open window.
The three animals started slinking toward me. As they did, I noticed a strange shadow out of the corner of my eye. It was Marge, the older, slightly surly single woman who lives in the house across the street. She was watching the scene unfold through the drapes in her living room. Unfortunately, she closed the curtains so quickly that I couldn't tell if the object she was holding up to her ear and speaking into was a phone...or a pop tart.