There’s something about being woken up at 4am by a 3-year-old screaming “Help! HELP! It’s da BIG BAD WOLF!” as he runs into your bedroom that really gets your adrenalin flowing.
In hindsight, maybe The Three Little Pigs wasn’t the best bedtime reading for my little guy. I certainly didn’t mean to scare him. But then again, it’s not like my kids never scare me.
Most of the time they scare me without even trying:
They eat weird things. They pick things up off the floor (wherever we are) and pop them into their mouths.
They stick things up their noses. Peas. Pieces of fuzz. Pebbles. Cotton candy. Things of that nature.
They run with sticks. They run with scissors. They run through parking lots.
They get high fevers. They get awful coughs. They get choked. They get pneumonia.
They go too close to the fire-pit. They hold sparklers too close to their faces.
They jump too high on the trampoline. They swing like they are aiming for outer space on Killer Death Swings.
They break collar bones. They get weird rashes. They fall flat on their faces and smack their teeth on the floor.
They accidentally poke each other in the eye with drinking straws.
They climb to the tip top of very tall, very wobbly pine trees.
They sled at high speeds. Backwards.
They sit too close to the edge of the lion enclosure at the zoo.
They go entirely too fast on anything that has wheels. And then they fall off – usually on pavement or near some large, sharp rocks.
They are entirely too willing to explore ominous places in the woods (and turn over logs to pick up any creepy crawlies that they might find there.)
They disappear by the candy machine at the mall.
They twist their little arms behind their backs (Adelaide is double-jointed and can contort herself into some pretty freaky looking positions. When she was a baby her tiny thumb bent completely backwards and I thought it was broken, but pop! she moved it right back the way it was supposed to be.)
They jump up and down in the wet, slippery bathtub.
They thump so loudly upstairs that I can hear them through the ceiling. They rattle the light fixtures. They fall out of bed. They hit their heads on the ceiling fan. They miss rungs on the bunk bed ladder and crash to the floor.
And then, sometimes, they do it on purpose:
They are entirely too convincing when they tell me that there’s a monster in their room. Just to be on the safe side, I usually close their door, lock it, and take them to my room where it’s clearly less dangerous. Their dad can deal with the monster later.
They hide behind doors just so they can jump out and yell “Boogity-boogity!” at me. They get me about 90% of the time.
And is there anything creepier than seeing the outline of a 3-foot tall, dark shadow with big eyes staring at you from the darkened hallway? Maybe one thing: waking up with a jolt to a face two inches from your own, STARING silently at you while you sleep.
Or they engage in psychological warfare by walking around completely draped in blankets (firmly ingrained ideas of what a ghost supposedly looks like die hard) or in uber-creepy Cinderella masks that show nothing but their creepy little eyeballs.
Once, 9-year-old Sadie stayed quiet and out of sight for 45 whole minutes, patiently waiting for me to get her little brother ready for bed, just so she could REACH OUT FROM UNDER HIS CRIB AND GRAB MY ANKLES. I am still not over it.
And 5-year-old Adelaide’s explanation of a bad dream she’d had: “Mommy, I dreamed that somebody died. I’m not telling who. But just stay in here. Seriously.”
So… who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? Well, Jed is, for one.
And I may also be scared of him, though I will never admit that to Jed.
But honestly, I think my kids might be scarier.