Saturday, September 15, 2007

Fears stalking our BOY

Fears. Fears. We're ALL about fears these days. Fear of the dark, fear of the shadows on the wall, fear of the closet doors, fear of monsters, fear of flashing lights outside the window, fear of mysterious thumps that only a small boy can hear, fear of bathing suits - whoops, that's mine. Fears. We've got the whole catalogue going here, and we haven't even started talking about Halloween. Yet. BOY is convinced that monsters are out to get him. Right now. What by day is ordinary is by night extraordinary and the soft mane of the hobby horse becomes a jagged shadow enhanced by the light of the air conditioner. (Yes, we're still running it.)

Since I am a big believer in things that go bump in the night, it is hard to not take his fears seriously. And I do. Except that the interrupted sleep is starting to get to me. What is it about when your children are babies and you get up 2, 3, 4 times a night and you take it in stride. Well, usually. And then you get through that and think... By GOD, I've earned my right to get a good night's sleep again. Uninterrupted. HA! And so, when a small boy comes to find you in the middle of the night - sometimes 2 or 3 times, and you exhaustively walk him back to his little toddler bed, which you can hardly perch on to pat his back as the cold wind of the a/c slams into your back - well, you start to get just a wee bit resentful of this child. Shame. Shame. Especially resentful, when one long night you are too tired to make this journey back and forth and so you grab a sleeping bag and curl up on the HARD, hardwood floor next to his bed and dream of daggers stabbing you in the back.

And you really try everything. You reassure at bedtime. You sing the usual required songs - which are in order of importance: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star - then a Silly, Silly Soul Man story (a new, imaginary tale about our 2 dogs and cat), and finally a Lullaby sung to BOY, and to all 11 of his animals clustered lovingly around his head. And you blow kisses and walk out and maybe 2 minutes (tops!) goes by and then it is much BANGING upon his bedroom door and cries of MOMMY! I'M SCAA RRR ED!! (What is normally a 2 syllable word is now a streeetched 3 syllable word.)

I open the door:
Boy, get back in your bed.
What are you scared of, sweetie?
I heard some thing.
You heard something?
What did it sound like?
Like some thing. Some thing LOUD.
Sweetie, I think it was probably the air conditioner.
No, I don't think so. I want some pat pats.
OK, I'll give you a few pat pats. And then you need to go to sleep.
OK! (He might as well be striking up a brass band, he's SO thrilled. Mmmm ...maybe that is a clue that I shouldn't be going through this exercise. Thought for the future when I'm the Queen of Wise.) Thank you, Mommy.

And we start again. Maybe he goes to sleep this time. Maybe not. When he does finally fall asleep it is usually about 20 minutes before I drop like a sack of worn-out woman on my bed. The light is out and E and I fall into the deep slumber of whipped parents of young, too clever for us, children.
2am..the pad, pad, pad of small feet and we have a visitor. An I'm SCAAARED little BOY. I walk him back.

2:20am..pad, pad, pad. I'M STILL SCAARED. Walk him back.

3am....pad, pad, pad. Mommy, can I get in bed with you and Daddy? And so it ends. With a small BOY all cozy in our bed, all of us asleep, until his small and unintentionally well aimed foot slams perfectly into E's tender area, shall we call it? And a high pitched YELP is heard from the formerly deeper voiced Daddy. By now it is close to 5am and we're all awake. Good Morning!

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  1. I wish every parent a good night's sleep. I too was up a bit last night with Esme, clutched to me like a baby monkey and crying, "the scary man is going to get me!" I'm not sure where she got that and it really concerns me, as she's never really been scared like that before. My heart melted for her last night as she snuggled against my body, buried her head into my neck and fell asleep. Ahhhh.

  2. I think it has got to be the age. I had heard that 4 is an age where fears can really kick in. BOY appears to be acquiring this a bit early, since he won't be 4 until November. It is so hard. Especially since some of the time he milks the "fear factor" - as in, let's see how far I can go with this. Yet, he is legitimately fearful/terrified at other times. It does melt your heart.


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