It’s a nightmare!
I was terrified of the Count on Sesame Street as a kid. Convinced he was going to count each finger and toe tip as he bite them off, I couldn’t let my hands or feet hang off the edge of the bed. See, he lived under my bed, waiting for me to fall asleep so he could attack and eat each and every one of my fingers and toes. I am almost positive this is what started my sleeping problems that have persisted to this day. As soon as i feel myself relaxing, that feeling where you start to succumb to sleep, I’ll jerk my legs or arms to wake myself up to keep from going to sleep. This is how I tried to keep myself from sleeping at night as a kid, my only way of keeping the Count at bay.
And on that note, a few years back Blade’s cat somehow found himself in my bedroom one night. I awoke, in a freaking TERROR, as Sphinx (his cat), bit a finger tip that was hanging off the bed. My family finds this hilarious. I do not. Still.
Anyway, it’s an unrealistic fear that, although I’m 44 now and understand perfectly well that he’s a puppet and very much not real, sticks around in the far distant corners of my mind. My boys had a fear each a long these lines when they were little. Bear was terrified of eating beans because some lame-brain told him that’s how she got pregnant (at the time I thought it was a clever distraction to make him forget the VERY explicit version his step-sister had told him … he was four and recounted every exact detail she’d told him). He refused to eat them for a good six months because he didn’t want a baby growing in his belly like I had in mine. Never do that, make up silly excuses to parry uncomfortable questions from your kids! Just say you don’t know and table the conversation for later.
Blade, thanks to Bear, couldn’t flush a toilet for a year or so. Bear convinced his younger brother that the commode would explode and kill us all if he pushed the handle on the bowl. That wasn’t a fun stage but it didn’t turn into a life long fear like Wonderboy’s did. Wonderboy is 23 years old and still freaks in a panic if a toilet overflows. Bear took his Superman toy and flushed him down my mother’s toilet when Wonderboy was, I dunno, three or four (?), so Superman could fight the bad guys who lived in the sewer. We had to replace the wax ring and part of my mother’s (very old) bathroom floor (was an old trailer, floor looked like that particle board crap) after all was said and done.
As frustrating as these fears of theirs were, it wasn’t hard to handle as I could quickly plunge a toilet, flush it for Blade until he was old enough to understand
his brother was an idiot it wasn’t going to explode or just not serve Bear beans. Boo, however, has been living a nightmare ever since the ceiling tiles in my office fell due to the leak last week.
Friday she was inconsolable at times, convinced she was hearing something drip and that the entire ceiling was going to fall on us. She would stand in door ways, trembling while sobbing as she pleaded with us to get out of the house. “We have to get out of here!” she kept saying. She’d seen one of the tiles fall and, I think, had a nightmare from the experience. She can not be in a room by herself now. She inspects the ceilings every day looking for leaks and when it’s dark, whooo_boy, she screams and cries herself to sleep every night now. I’m letting her mom deal with nighttime but it’s wearing her down. I get that because the same thing is happening during the day at nap time and, oh my ghod, even I nearly dropped a tear or two today.
Abject terror, that’s how I’d describe her crying when it’s time to go to sleep. Full on ‘terror-fit’ complete with screaming, sobbing, jumping up and down, wide-eyed frightened look on her face, trembling, …. It’s awful! And I don’t know what to do about it. Last night I let her stay up until Mike went to bed. He had to let her fall asleep in our bed with him before he could put her in her bed. She clung to him, frightened, until she finally fell asleep. What do you do in a situation like this? Mike’s repaired the leak and the ceiling. He let her help him fix the ceiling thinking that would let her know it was ‘safe’ now.
My nerves are thin. I gave up today and rocked her to sleep for her nap. Normally I wouldn’t mind but I have so much I need to do and she’s been overly clingy and super needy since Friday. Sunday Mike and Britt had her most of the day, letting her play outside. That’s the only day since Friday that’s been productive (for me). Thin, my nerves, so, so, so thin. That kid has a set of lungs on her and I find it amazing our neighbor hasn’t popped over to see what’s been going on.
I don’t know what more we can do to help. My room is lit up like a Christmas tree at night with night lights and a fish lamp she loves to watch. I’m not closing the curtains when she takes a nap like I normally do. I lay down with her until she’s still, eyes closed, breathing steady but the second I get up she has a meltdown. Her nightmare is becoming ours and I’ve no clue how long this will continue. If I had a way to play music in our room at night I’d try that. Would have tried that today at nap time but her screaming fits were so … HUGE! … LOUD! … LONG! … FRUSTRATING! … that I forgot all about that idea. Her dad, Bear, has the next three days off work. He gets nap time duty tomorrow and I bet Britt has him put her to bed as well.