Thunderstruck Thumb-Suck

Desert Lightning

I awoke suddenly to sheets of rain tap-dancing on the roof, werewolf-howl wind gusts, and the white-noise hiss of our baby monitor, my wife’s intent yet exhausted face lit by the screen.

“Hey,” she whispered.

“What up,” I yawned.

“He’s awake.” She turned the monitor to display my son in his crib, tossing restlessly. I glanced at the clock. 3:20 am.

“How’s she?”

“Still out,” she replied, just as the monitor toggled to our daughter, fast asleep.  My wife dubiously shook her head. “How are you just now waking up? How can you sleep through this?”

“Through what?”

A bright flash lit the room momentarily, followed by thunderclap that literally rattled the house.

Arizona LightningShe shot me a the-deafening-storm-you’ve-been-sleeping-through-you-lucky-bastard kind of look. My wife is a light sleeper, so she wakes up often at night and sometimes gets jealous of my hibernation-grade slumber intensity, particularly during nights like this.

“Oh,” I answered. “Talent?”

We are in the midst of what Arizonans call “Monsoon Season,” a time during which we are graced not only with three-digit heat, but also higher-than-usual humidity and a wave of tropical thunderstorms, including the most massive dust storm Phoenix has seen in years–or as I learned the day after the storm, the proper term is haboob. (Yes, really. How exciting is that?!) So, with that in mind, check out these pictures of this enormous, mind-blowing, spectacular haboob, from TWO angles!

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While it was incredibly cool to experience (at one point we couldn’t see anything further than five feet out the windows as the tannish fog enveloped the house), the timing was not ideal. The storm hit just as we were putting the Twins down for bed, so despite the soothing simulated-heartbeat jams of their Sound Machines (which I believe are from Miami), the rattling windows, moaning gusts, and our yapping watchdog kept them awake, which allowed them the opportunity to complement the clamor outside with alternating cries akin to dueling guitar solos.

ACDC

Luckily, neither the storm nor the solos Shook Us All Night Long.

I remembered the haboob experience as the sky paparazzi flashed another photo.

My first thought was: Huh-huh. Huh-huh. Haboob. My second was: Huh-huh. Huh-huh. But my third was: Get ready to hold crying progeny for an hour.

Not that I was hoping for it, but I definitely had to accept it as a possibility. But then, my selfish heart melted when I actually thought of the Twinfants, alone in their beds, waking with a start, never having heard or experienced such a loud, sensory-overloading thing. Recalling my own childhood and how terrified I’d get of lightning storms, I became totally okay with soothing them and letting them know everything would be okay.

Jim Halpert looking at the camera

I don't know if he's saying "hi" or mocking me.

My son flipped from his side to his back, his eyes wide open, looking up at the camera. I swear he already knows what it is and what it does because all the time I catch him half-smirking directly at it like Dunder-Mifflin’s Jim Halpert.

After a few minutes of silently willing him back to sleep, my wife and I gently high-fived as he found his thumb and sucked it all the way back to Sleepy Town.

“Okay,” I murmured, leaning over to kiss my wife. “Good ni–“

FLASH! (Yes, that is an onomatopoeia that doesn’t actually make a sound.) BANG!

“She’s waking up.”

“No she isn’t.”

“She is.”

Sure enough, there my daughter was, exhaling loudly, whipping what little hair she has back and forth. Now, she worried me even more. She’s a little more high-strung and observant than my son. Her eyes like dinner plates, she has a thirst for life in general and passionately takes in everything she encounters. This curiosity will serve her well, but it also causes her to get easily overwhelmed by situations that overload her senses. Such as bright flashes of light and loud booms.

Warwick Davies as Willow

The whipping-back-and-forth-of-hair phenomenon is credited to Willow Ufgood, who heroically did so while saving a baby from the evil queen Bavmorda.

The back-and-forth hair-whipping slowed to an alert halt at another flash and bang. Her eyes widened.

Oh no. Here it comes.

And then something incredible happened.

She just lost her mind laughing.

And then, in utter shock, so did we.

Each crash intensified her hysterics to a higher, more jubilant octave, rolling mirthfully back and forth as the storm raged on, while my wife and I tried to stifle belly laughs so the three of us wouldn’t wake my son.

Eventually, she tired herself out, found a tasty finger, and collapsed.

My wife and I, on the other hand, were now fully awake from laughing until we cried.

In fact, we listened to the sky explode for another hour, returning fire with overdramatic sighs and obscenities.

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You may also enjoy:

We Don't Do That Here - A Trip to the Pediatrician's Office   Naptime Musings - My 6 Most Common Thoughts   Big Mother Is Watching

If not, maybe you just need to think of the word “haboob.” Huh-huh. Haboob.

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2 comments

  1. lovethebadguy

    “FLASH! (Yes, that is an onomatopoeia that doesn’t actually make a sound.)”

    Haha! That’s deep, man. Deep.

    This post was rather funny, so I shall politely ignore the reference to “Whip My Hair” and move on with my life.

    (Though I will say this: One of my friends got Willow and Jay Smith mixed up, and thought it was Will’s SON who sang that song. Go now, and watch the entire clip of “Whip My Hair” while imagining her to be a boy. That’s right – I just lifted the disturbing factor of that song up to an eleven. Enjoy.)

    Like

    • John Pseudonymous

      SMILE! (There’s another one for you. Thanks for appreciating my soundless onomatopoeia. I’m hoping it was the first ever, but I’m not positive.)

      Wow, yeah, that IS disturbing. I actually think the first time I heard/saw the Willow Smith song I was confused, too for a couple of seconds, and my wife corrected me, saying it was his younger sister. At first, I felt better. Then, I realized how young this kid is and that she’s “singing” about whipping her hair back and forth. Still pretty weird.

      Like

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