This afternoon while watching a fat spaniel cross the lawn outside the nursery window, I discerned some odd movement under the turf itself. "A HA!
" I proclaimed - quietly, of course, to keep from waking the remaining babies with my fanatic cry. Perhaps now
I will get to the bottom of this mystery, I thought. All day long someone had been stealing slumbering babies from the nursery while their poor parents celebrated a wedding on the south lawn. I for one was tired of the drama - nine babies to start with and just four remaining. And now this! I rushed outdoors and ripped up the roiling sod with my bare hands. As I suspected, it was a chap tunneling in from the asylum down the road. I held the flap of turf and briefly scanned the tunnel for evidence of the missing babies. The shabby tunneller soon recovered from the shock of seeing me emerge from above, and our interaction unravelled as follows:
"Making a clean getaway, I see," I said with open suspicion, hand to my chin.
"Yes, couldn't stand the place any longer," he replied.
"Seen any babies, have you?"
"In that case, would you care to climb out of there and have at the refreshments in the south lawn?" I asked, and gestured towards the noise. "Or shall I just replace this sod over your tunnel?"
"That'll do, now - replace the sod," he nodded and touched his cap. "Many thanks."
I replaced the sod and repaired indoors, and here I remain. It is imperative that I find some replacement babies - or better yet, the originals - and quickly. I can't have sentimental, post-fête parents collapsing in shock or spraying panicked oaths in my face. Sigh. I am in a scrape, I do think.
UPDATE: Found the babies. They were sound asleep and securely camouflaged in SpongeBob SquarePants bedsheets. It seems I tend to lose track of (or interest in) babies when they stop wailing or demanding juice. Character flaw on my part, I suppose.