Yesterday, Tinker said, “Mom, I have something to tell you. The closet door was open yest-night and there was a big scary monster in there.”
“Oh, Tink,” said I, sagely. “Monsters aren’t real. You are okay.”
“Oh this was for real, Mommy, I promise!”
With three young kids, we here a lot about monsters and scary stuff. The Blitz is going through the 3-year-old terrified-of-everything-but-trying-to-be-brave phase. He wanted a Halloween shirt since I’d bought a super-cute one for Tinkerbell. So I found him a long-sleeved shirt (optimistically — it’s still hot as spit here) that had skulls on it. They are tasteful, it just looks like a print shirt until you study it a bit. So I put it on him, and he immediately took it off. The next day he said he wanted his Halloween shirt so I put it on him and he said, “Take if off, Mom; it scares me!” On and off it’s been a half-dozen times now.
Last night, Daddy put the kids to bed while I was cooking for the youth at church. When I went in to cover up The Captain who’d heard me come in, The Blitz began sobbing hysterically. Unable to calm him, I scooped him up and carried him to the kitchen at let him wake up a little. Eventually he said, “There was a scary monster in my room and it was saying, ‘Nighty-night.”‘ (The last bit was in a scary voice.) Poor baby.
We are working through these fears. There are a number of things that help at nighttime: We leave the bathroom light on, Mommy covers everyone up once they’re in bed, we make sure the closet door is closed. I don’t think it helps that their room is so messy, so we will tackle that today. We talk a lot about how monsters aren’t real and this house is a safe place. It’s just something every child has to go through and I know that, but bless their hearts! “Monsters” are the coming of age– the time when children realize they are not in control of their world and that things outside of Mommy and Daddy can impact them.
We’re the same, right? We have our own unreasonable fears. The “monsters” in my world are fears that I won’t be a “good enough” mother to these kids, or that they will have a terrible disease, or a sad, dangerous future. These are just my “monsters” and– like theirs– are not real. It’s just me, my brain, fearing that which I cannot control. All I can do is tuck myself in at night, knowing I’ve done my best, albeit imperfectly and remind myself that it really is enough. And yours is enough, too.