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Kid in the dark

January 31, 2007

You know Myowndaughter doesn’t like to go to sleep.
Well, I figured something out.
Her Sexymom and I had been parenting like our parents parented when parenting was considered a phase people had to go through to get to a mid-life crisis. The kid should go to sleep because we told her to go to sleep. Right?
Eureka! I thought, as I often do.
Myowndaughter is a smart kid. She learns well. In fact … I haven’t figured out how to tell my parents this about their granddaughter … she has a brain! We tell her something, and it might take a little while, but she learns.
So why not tell her how we plan to train her to go to sleep without our being in the room. Aha! Brilliant!
Sexywife, being a woman of wisdom, experience, expressed a little doubt. “Right,” she says. “Uh-huh.”
But I tried it. I told Mod the other night, “we’ll stay in the room with you as long as you stay in your bed, stay quiet and go to sleep. But if you get out of your bed and start playing, we’re going to drag you naked from the house, strap you onto Abby’s back, turn her loose and let the rabid cats chase you through the cold dark night, then they’ll lick off your ears, and the evil beasts will slink out of the shadows to give you diaper wedgies before eating you alive!”
Or, maybe I said, … “we’re not going to stay in your room.” Then I topped it off with my signature signal of seriousness, “this … is not … a game.”
Then I kissed her on her head and made her swallow a Valium.
Or, maybe I just said goodnight.
Either way, it seemed to soak in.
You might be surprised — I sure as hell am — to know that it’s worked since then. No throwing herself from her bed to her floor like a demented seal. No begging for water or a ‘neenex.
Of course, there was the other night …
I finish reading to her and I say, “I’m going to be quiet now. I’ll turn off the light and you go to sleep.”
Then I sit on her bed for a few minutes.
This was Sunday night. She wasn’t rambunctious, she just wasn’t ready to give up the ghost.
So I’m sitting there in the dark, silently, and she’s fidgeting, and she says, “Daddy?”
It’s a trap. I stay quiet.
She sits up, crawls out of the covers and stares at me.
“Daddy?”
Not gonna do it.
She leans forward, turns her head, studies me. I am not making a move. Now she thinks I’m really asleep. She can’t see that my eyes are slightly open. I’m watching her as she slooooooowly gets closer.
Ever been in a pitch-dark room? Or a cavern, like Carlsbad, and the guide turns off the ligths? You can’t see nothin. Hold your hand in front of your face and it’s as if it’s not even there. Or ever try to find the right sock early in the morning without turning on the lights, and you can’t tell if the one in your hand is blue or black? This kid’s examing me like that. Am I blue? Black? Am I even there?
She’s moving in slow motion and a ball of hilariarity starts to grown inside me. I can see her head tilt back and forth. She’s just a foot away. Closer she comes. Closer. Second by second, in the dark, thinking I’m asleep. Six inches away and she still can’t believe that I’m sitting there asleep. Three inches, and she’s aiming right for my eyeballs! Surely she’s goofing off! Surely she’s going to stop! Stop! Stop before I die laughing!
I bite my lip. I clinch my mouth shut. I’ve been leaning on my hand and I’m pushing my mouth closed.
Two inches! She’s two inches from my face!
One inch from my face! and she keeps getting closer! She’s trying to stare into my soul!
I can’t stand this anymore! I totally lose it.
BBBBuuuuupppphhhhhhhhh!!!!!! snortsnortsnortsnort
Quick! Recover!
She still doesn’t move! What’s with this kid? Beats me but it’s funnier than hell.
A second or two after I snort, totally unfazed, she slowy reaches her hand toward me … and pokes me! Like, hey, are you awake? You alive over there?
I break into pieces. I roar with laughter.
Mod never laughed, never said anything else.
I compose myself after a few seconds. Mod lies down, I lean over and tuck her in. A few minutes later, she’s out.
I’m still laughing.

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