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Friday, February 17, 2012

The Boogeyman and Other Tales On Getting Out of Bedtime

Every parent experiences it and even remembers it as a child. The Boogeyman, or whatever else it was that scared your socks off and made you go screaming for your parents.

Tonight, I hear my three year old son rambling in his room after he had been silent, and presumably asleep, since we had put him down for bed about three hours earlier. I open his door and he is sitting bolt upright in his bed with a slightly concerned look on his face but nothing more than that. He points to his closet and tell's me he heard a sound that woke up him or, in his words, "made me awake now." So I go to the closet and see if anything fell, causing him to wake up. Not one thing is out of place. I was really hoping there was a giant box laying on the floor so I could point to it and easily explain away the noise. It's never that easy though, is it?

"It's all good in your closet kiddo, it was probably just a dream that woke you up," I assure him as I rub his back. Logically, this explanation makes perfect sense to my near thirty year old self. I remember being that age and having the worst nightmares that not only stayed with me when I woke up but that I remember to this day. Of course, that means nothing to him and he isn't buying it.

Now he is pointing to the window. He is making large arm gestures that, if I am interpreting correctly, mean that a large squirrel flew into his bedroom, after opening his locked window, flew around the room while making a tapping sound that he is now re-enacting by tapping his finger on the railing of his bed, and then flew out the window, even closing it behind him. You can imagine the raised eyebrow I am giving my son about now. He is looking at me in earnest though, fully believing this story he is telling me. My theory is he is so good at making up stories that he even has himself convinced.

I go to his window to prove there is nothing out there. I turn around to start my very convincing spiel and....he is gone. I look around and he is hunched over his bookshelf, running his finger along the spines of his books, with a very preoccupied look on his face. Dang it! I've been hoodwinked again! This kid had no such visit from any scary closet dwelling monster or flying, tapping, locksmiths. He just wanted me to read him another book!

I have no doubt that he had fallen asleep, had some sort of dream that woke him up, and then realized I was off the clock and currently not serving his needs. His little toddler brain decided he wanted me to be reading him a book instead of, oh, I don't know, sleeping!

So what do I do after being tricked into checking every inch of his room? Read him a book, of course. I curled up in his bed, shoving about 17 stuffed animals out of my way, and my little feetie pajama clad cherub climbed cheerfully back in to his bed, next to his mama, satisfied that his ploy worked. He rested his head against my shoulder as we read, "Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You". I softly stroke his curly bedhead as we read each page together and enjoy getting to sneak in that one extra moment with my little one before the day was over.

He may be learning that if he pretends to be scared to get out of sleeping when he doesn't want to, that mommy will foolishly come running and read him yet another book, prolonging bedtime for just a little bit longer. However, he is also learning that even if the Boogeyman himself leaps out of his closet, mommy will be there. Whatever is keeping him up at night, scary or not, I will always be there, ready to read him back to a happy slumber. After all, what's one more book in the grand scheme of things?

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