The View from Writers Roost
Mar 21, 2014 | 14818 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HOW MANY WAYS does your small child have to get a drink of water after beddy-bye time? That depends on a number of conditions, abilities and attitudes. Those factors could provide an infinitesimal number of scenarios.

If a child is mature enough to sleep by themselves in their own bed and bedroom, they’re able to fetch their own nocturnal thirst quencher. Ah, every parent with young children longs for those days.

A great deal of the time, parents with a young child have particular procedures if the tyke’s thirst must be slaked. Naturally, along with approving how the child receives the water, there’s always the caveat of “You’d better be sure you don’t drink so much that you wet the bed.”

Some parents make take turns “being on call” for Missy or Bubba’s “I’m firsty” call. An older child or children in the household spreads around the late-night Gunga Din duty. Maybe there’ll only be one or two sleep-disturbed sleep nights a week.

ANOTHER ANSWER requires enough manual dexterity by the child to be able to handle a sippy cup stationed on his/her nightstand.

The bath(s) assigned to those junior members of the family are probably stocked with those 3-oz. Dixie Bathroom Cups, handy little things for “firsty kid.”

Then there’s all children’s ace-in-the-hole — grandparents. “Grandpa’ll do anything I want him to.” Uh-huh!

Being someone who sleeps very soundly, I missed what few emergency “dink-of-wattuh” calls that came up in our child-rearing days.

However, I did experience one different and hilarious midnight thirst fest.

AS ALWAYS, a little scene setting is in order.

As a poor boy trying to work his way through the University of Houston in the late 1950s, I found the second-cheapest room and board I could find. The only thing cheaper would’ve been living with my parents for free. However, there’s a definite and different price to pay for that one. ‘Nuff said.

What I wound up with for my junior and senior years upon transferring to the University of Houston was living with my aunt and uncle and their four children. I paid them $50 a month for room and board and I know my mother’s sweet little sister, Aunt Olga, and her husband, Uncle Harvey, probably couldn’t feed me for that much less cover the water I used (I bathed every day and there was laundry), the electricity and natural gas I burned and all the little miscellaneous costs each member of a household incurs as part of the common expense.

The oldest child was the only boy, Lowery, 18, a high school senior, and he and I shared a double bed in his room. I’d lived under the same kind of arrangements with my next oldest brother at our house, so there was little adjustment for me. Sixteen-year-old Maxine had her own quarters while Wanda, 11, had to share her room with two-and-a-half-year-old Mona, the apple of everyone’s eye. Well, except maybe Wanda who had to surrender baby-of-the-family rights.

That was the arrangement.

SINCE I went to school four nights a week and got home via two bus lines’ connections about 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, an early bedtime was out of the question for most except Wanda and Mona. Everyone treasured Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights when we all had normal sleep schedules.

The first winter there, we had a rarity for Houston, an extremely cold night.

Sure enough, just about the time everyone was cruising through dreamland, there came Mona’s crisp, clear call: “Muthuh, I need a dink of wallah.”

Aunt Olga, who spent much of her indoor time barefoot, hit the cold hardwood floor and headed to the kitchen while doing a nifty little toe-heel dance on the frigid floor.

About halfway to the kitchen came Mona’s authoritative rumble: “Kold walla, Muthuh!”

Olga’s fuse and a spanking for Mona were both extinguished by loud guffaws from every room in the house.

Willis Webb is a retired community newspaper editor-publisher of more than 50 years experience. He can be reached by email at
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