Sunday, February 12, 2012

Try This Trick

Adam and I are feeding the beasties for the final time of the night when we hear Sammy's voice from upstairs. "Mommy, I'm scared that monsters are going to come out of my closet." This is the third night in a row that she has come out of her room after being put to bed. For the past two nights, I've done  a "magic trick" to keep them away.
Me: Sam, I'm not going to do the magic trick again.

Sam: But I want you to do the magic trick, mommy, to keep the monsters away.

I planned ahead for this. She's five now - she can be reasoned with, right?
Me: Remember I told you last night that it would be the last time, because I didn't want to get in the habit of doing it every night?

Sam: But I'm scared of the monsters.

By this time, she has come halfway down the stairs and is talking to us through the railings. I have a brilliant idea:
Me: Well why don't you do a magic trick to keep them away.

Sam: Well, I can't do the magic, because I don't know how, and I can't do magic.

I try being firm:
Me: Well, I'm not doing it again. You need to go back to your room.

Sam: But I'm scared of the monsters!

We repeat the same arguments back and forth about five times. This isn't working. I remember something that has worked in the past:
Me: Well, I can't do anything about that. If there is something specific you need from me, please let me know. But I told you I can't do the magic trick anymore, and I can't make you not afraid. That is something you have to figure out for yourself.

Sam: But, MOMMY! I can't sleep.

Me: I can't make you go to sleep either. That is something you have to do on your own.

Adam thinks he has the solution:
Adam: If you can't sleep you can play with your toys or read your books, but you have to go back to your room.

Sam: But, DADDY!

Oh god, this is escalating. Am I going to have to get up and put her back into her room and then listen to her scream for an hour?
Sam: Mommy, you said that if I was every really scared, I could always come out and tell you.

Me: Yes, and you just told me. Good night.

Sam: Good night.

Me: See you in the morning.

Sam [retreating up the stairs]: See you in the morning.

A moment passes as Adam and I listen to the sound of her bedroom door quietly closing. Then we look at each other with dropped jaws. Now, that was magic!


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