The next morning, whilst I was sorting Grace out who seemed determined to bring the roof down with her crying, Harry popped up at my elbow. I glanced at him and realised he was dressed in the vampire costume. Though he hadn’t gotten it on right. The waist coat was the wrong way and not buttoned, the cape was lopsided over one shoulder.
‘Harry! Those weren’t the clothes I left out for you,’ I said angrily as I struggled to get Grace into a clean nappy.
‘I am a vampire,’ he replied, ‘and this is what they wear.’
I opened my mouth, words tumbling in my head but then I decided it wasn’t worth it. Grace was going to be too much of handful today and I could do without Harry being the same way. Taking a few deep breaths, I decided what did it matter? I could wash the costume next week and beside going to the library and the park if the weather held, I had no other plans for the day.
Wrestling, Grace into some pink pants and a long sleeve matching top, I wrapped her in a blanket and scooped her up. She cried down my ear and no soft patting or soothing sounds seemed to work. She couldn’t be that hungry as my husband had feed her around 4 or 5 am.
I turned to the leave the room and spotted Harry playing with some wooden number blocks that had originally been his. I so needed to fix his costume but Grace had no plans to let me.
‘Let’s go get some breakfast,’ I said above the wailing baby.
In the kitchen, I put Grace in the supported high chair and made her some milk. Harry hovered about then took Grace’s hand and tried to quiet her down. Normally, he was really good with her and she did stop crying, but not today.
I hurried through making us all breakfast and making sure we’d all eaten. Grace finally silent for awhile but as I looked at her flush cheeks and felt her hot skin, I began to think she wasn’t well.
‘Harry, let me fix your costume,’ I said as he tried to pull his cape about him.
‘It’s stuck,’ he uttered.
I got up and took the cape and waist coat off. I tucked the shirt into the trousers then put the waist coat on better and the cape properly.
‘There you go. So much better. Now let’s tidy up. Can you help with that?’
Harry scrunched up his face but helped anyway. Grace watched us but soon reached out for me and I had to pick her up. Once the dishwasher was empty and filled with the breakfast things. I put a clothes wash on then had to go and change Grace again.
She fussed and cried a lot again, but at least it was quieter then this morning. I placed her back into the cot afterwards and asked Harry to read to her. He picked up a story book about monsters and read in a loud voice. I tided her room then got Harry to help me tidy his.
‘Do you want to go to the library now?’ I asked him.
‘Only if I can get a vampire book!’ he replied.
‘We’ll have to see what they have.’
We got ready then bundled into the car and I drove off. A drizzle which threatened to turn into rain added to the gloom of the overcast day and there was a sharp cold wind too. I remembered hearing something about a storm coming. Perhaps, we’d skip the park today, maybe we could do some painting or make something?
The library was busy as they had a story time session on. I let Harry join in though he did get some looks from the children and adults but then they acted like it was normal to see a boy dressed in a vampire costume. After, we found some children’s books about vampires and also some baby books for Grace.
Down in the adult section, I breathed in that lovely smell of old paper and polished wood. The library wasn’t old but they had re-used books and bookcases from a much older one that had closed years ago. I found some books to read and we checked them all out.
The rain was heavier when we left and I drove straight home. The wind was turning into gale force and blowing everything around. The children were quiet, thankfully watching the weather or else Harry was flipping through his books and sometimes showing Grace a picture.
When we got back we had lunch. Harry was too hungry to complain about cup a soups and ham sandwiches. Grace only had half her milk though. I put her down for a nap, my thoughts of her being ill stronger then before. Hopefully it was only a cold.
Harry wanted to read one of his books. So we did that whilst his sister slept.
‘I’m like this vampire,’ Harry pointed out, ‘I like blood too.’
‘But can you turn into a bat?’ I asked teasingly.
Harry stopped up, shut his eyes and wrapped his cape about him. Then he unfurled it and flapped it. He made little squeaking sounds then ran about the room. The cape flapped and flew, almost as if it was flying.
‘Oh! A bat!’ I gasped and put my hands to my face.
Harry came and flapped in my face. I faked panic, though I had no fear of real bats. I grab Harry and tickled him. He burst into laughter and we tumbled on the floor together. Grace’s crying next door cut through out moment and I had to get up to see her to her.
Harry trailed after me. I picked Grace up and felt her head. She was so hot! I took her into the bathroom, cradling her tightly. I wet a cloth and pressed it to her hand. Grace cried on crying.
‘What’s wrong, Mummy?’ Harry’s voice called out.
‘Your sister isn’t well. She’s got a fever,’ I explained.
Harry came closer and took her hand, though Grace was wiggling around.
‘She’ll be okay.’
‘I could give her some of my blood. Vampire blood heals everything,’ Harry spoke up.
I paused, wondering how he knew that then I shook my head, ‘no, no. She just needs some water and some rest. Why don’t you get a book and read to her? She always likes that.’
As Harry hurried off, I damped the cloth again and eased it around Grace’s face and neck. She had stopped crying as much. I heard Harry getting a book and coming back. I told myself, if Grace got worse I’d take her to the doctors, but for now, if the I could get the fever down she’s be okay.
Harry came back into the bathroom and sat down before me. He opened the book and began reading. I couldn’t help but smile, he looked so good in that costume and it was fitting he’d picked a vampire story. He struggled over some of the words, but he seemed to be doing okay.
Grace was listening too, though she was still being fussy. I wet the cloth again and that was how we spent some of the afternoon. We all had a nap afterwards and when my husband came home. I took Grace to the doctors. Her fever had come down but she was still ill.
Thankfully, it was only a bad cold and we were home quick enough. After talking to my husband, I sorted Grace out and put her to bed. We had pizzas for tea then my husband had to persuade Harry out of the vampire outfit and into PJs.
‘I thought you said you’d put it away?’ my husband asked when he came back down.
I was dozing off in front of the TV and I had come back too, ‘huh?’
‘The Halloween costume. I thought…’
I waved my husband away, ‘Grace was ill, I didn’t want to add a five year old to that battle too, so I just let him wear it. I’ll go put it in our wardrobe before we go to bed. He won’t be able to get it in there.’
There was a slight frown on my husband’s face then he came to me and we snuggled on the sofa. I fell asleep in his arms, my dreams full of children vampires turning into bats and drinking strawberry milkshake.