4:44 would normally be the luckiest time of the day for me. Four is my lucky number so three of them all lined up in a row should make me thrice blessed.
Chloe stood tapping my shoulder in the middle of the night—4:44am. She cry-whispered, then whisper-yelled, then just yelled, “I’m scared.”
I stroked her back as she stood next to the bed, careful not to speak before I had pulled one of the many rehearsed speeches from my sound-asleep brain that I knew would guarantee sleep results. The kind that would have her skipping back to her room silently and we would forget this whole thing happened. The kind my parents threatened soothed me with.
When we left the hospital with our parenting manual the first time around, I remember the chapter on nightmares indicating you were to lovingly but firmly take the child’s hand, walk them back to their room and tuck them into their beds. I think there was also some mention of quinoa but I might be running two chapters together.
I am way too tired to walk anywhere at 4:44 am and if Chloe wasn’t scared before coming into our room, the cracking sounds of my ankles and knees, the scarecrow arms slamming into the hall would be enough to scar her for life.
Sometimes I can get away with just stroking her back while she stands next to me, I look over at the clock, an hour has passed and she must have made her way back to her room because she knew that was all of the attention we could afford to pay to this. I would wonder if I had dreamt the whole thing.
Last night, she said there was a spider in her room.
My first reaction is always, “Oh sweetie, there’s no spiders,” knowing full well, there is probably a spider somewhere in this house and I just brought some of the tropical plants inside for the winter so who knows what kind of tropical critters I’ve brought inside. Are pythons tropical? Great, now I’m scared too.
She said she wasn’t going back to sleep and she wasn’t getting into her bed with a spider.
I walked back to her room against my better judgement and against the door to the kid’s bathroom, dislocating my shoulder and stopping for a locked knee at the half way point.
I climbed onto her bed (two twins pushed together to equal a double-king) and I smoothed out the sheets. I am brave.
But why would she think I’m not afraid of a giant spider? If what she’s suggesting is true, I don’t want a spider running across my hand at 4:44am! Not at the luckiest time of the day.
My kids are nature lovers—to a fault. They want you to rid the house of critters but they do not want any of them to be harmed while doing so and they want you to engage in this careful form of pest control during the best chance you’ve had at REM sleep all month.
If you find a spider, even one of those super fast ones, you have to catch it in a tissue and gently free it outside. Except adrenalin is shooting through your veins when you catch a spider and you instantly crush it when you make contact while pretending the spider is fine, racing to the door just in case you didn’t crunch every morsel of it and then you throw all 97 crumbled pieces onto the lawn in some confetti-spider ceremony, “Oh look, there he goes to be with his family.”
I’m not a super hero.
Onto the quinoa.