The screaming began right around midnight.
â€œMOMMMMEEEEEEE!!!â€ It continued to gain in hysteria, growing louder and louder until a trembling child was pooled in heap upon the newly displaced dog bed.
(The dog has recently demonstrated a serious phobia of smoke alarms. Iâ€™ve recently decided to start cooking in a healthier lifestyle adoption. Kid and dog were likely going for a quid pro quo kinda thing.)
â€œThe sharks are eating the TV on the wall,â€ he cried. â€œThere are so many sharks.â€
I put him back to bed.
An hour later the screams began anew.
I dozed through the following interim of soothing murmurs and â€œgo back to beds.â€
â€œToo dark! Too dark!â€ the little man shrieked. The nightlight was too dim for his liking. I think it was playing shark shadow puppets with his sleep-deprived mind.
I still remember the worst nightmare of my childhood. Iâ€™d been kidnapped by a bad guy driving a green car. It seems silly now, but it was more terrifying than any horror movie of the time. Such traumas stick with young minds.
Every hour a shivering, gasping, sweating Search would appear in my room.
â€œI need a hug.â€
â€œIs it wake up time yet?â€
â€œI need to snuggle.â€
â€œI need water.â€
The next morning neither kid wanted to get out of bed. â€œIâ€™m still tired,â€ they moaned. I was familiar with the feeling. But they were roused with promises of snuggles after school.
At dinner, Search and Destroy waited patiently for me to burn dinner, soothe the dog after the scary smoke alarm, and then scurry about preparing a last minute PB&J.
In a strange turn of events, no one wanted to watch TV. (Weâ€™re still in an Octonaut phase; and there was great concern that the Great White Shark episode may make an appearance.)
â€œA bug!â€ declared Destroy.
â€œItâ€™s crawling!â€ yelled Search.
â€œOh yeah,â€ I noticed. â€œItâ€™s a spider.â€
Always the epitome of their father, the boys ran screaming from the room. (I killed Charlotte.)
After the typical bedtime battle, no sooner had I collapsed down onto the couch to write up the saga of night terrors in tiny people, then the telltale sound of an opening door and pitter-patter of pajamaed feet reached my ears.
â€œI need you to check that all the scary things are all gone,â€ came the solemn request.
â€œOf course,â€ I replied seriously. â€œDo you want me to grab some monster spray and check to see if itâ€™s Sully or Randal?â€ (I had a whole bid for Mother of the Year going â€“ some calming essential oils in a spray bottle and referring visualizations back to the well-loved Pixar movie â€œMonsters Inc.â€)
â€œMommy,â€ Destroy inquired timidly. â€œThereâ€™s no such thing as real monsters.â€
â€œBut there ARE such thing as sharks and spiders,â€ Search pointedly pointed out. â€œYou come check.â€