Penguin's at rehearsal. Bumblebee is quietly coloring in her room. Occasionally I hear her low voice, speaking quietly to our next door neighbor through the window.
I'm folding laundry.
Suddenly I hear a thunk, a screech, and a wild cry that does not belong to my child. I pause.
Bumblebees voice shouts "I'm sorry, okay,"
Another voice screeches "You hit me, you hit me, you hit me, it hurts!"
I drop the laundry.
Bumblebee is sitting wide eyed on her bed.
Neighbor child is standing outside the window, clutching her head with both hands and screeching "Bumblebee hit me, it hurts, it hurts!"
The window is intact.
So is the screen.
A quick investigation reveals no way for me to quickly or effectively reach injured neighbor child.
I look from one to the other, raise an eyebrow, sit back on my heels and ask Bumblebee what exactly happened.
"The stepstool I was coloring on flipped over and hit the window," she says, looking me right in the eye, "Apparently it hit Ms neighbor."
I look at the still-keening neighbor child.
"Um, Neighbor, Hon? Are you okay?" I ask through the screen.
"No, I was just sitting here playing and she hit me on purpose! It hurts so bad!" she wails.
"Okay," I say, still studying the intact screen and window frame, "Whose in charge today? Your sister? Do you need us to bring you an ice pack, or do you have one in the fridge?"
Suddenly the sobs stop. Her hands slowly drop away from her head. Wheels turn behind those eyes, but I have no idea what she's thinking.
"Um, I'm okay," she says, sniffing back the remnants of tears.
I study her for a moment.
"If you just got hit in the head with a stepstool, we should tell another adult about it," I tell her, imagining goose egg lumps and concussions. The stepstool is a nice, sturdy wooden one. "Do you need me to come explain what happened to whoever's in charge?"
The child is 6. I've seen the tag teams trade places. I hear voices speak to her on a regular basis. I know there's an adult over there somewhere.
Eyes widen. Head shakes quickly.
"No, that's okay. I'm okay. She did hit me, but um, I'm okay now. It didn't really hurt."
I give both girls another Look. Neighbor girl forces a nervous laugh. There are tear stains on her cheeks.
"How did she hit you in the head with a step stool without breaking the window?" I ask in exasperation.
"I don't know!" Bumblebee wails, "Stop yelling at me!"
"On purpose!" neighbor girl says, and flounces off.
Bumblebee flops down on the pillows and sobs broken heartedly.
Those two are up to something. I just can't figure out what, exactly.
But I'm buying Bumblebee a cheap plastic lapdesk, just in case.