After baths, desserts, Phineas and Ferb, dinner (not all in that order), it was high time for little girls to go to sleep, each in their own room, each in their own bed.
Teeth were brushed, jammies were donned, blankets were tucked, songs were sung, prayers were said, Bibles were read (not all in that order).
Fifteen or twenty minutes later, I heard a frantic wail and cry over the movie I was settling in to watch with Auntie Kris. I had never heard Kourey cry like that before. I was worried she had gotten out of bed and into trouble. As I bounded up the stairs and the cry intensified in both volume and urgency, I had an image of her sticking her hand into the fan and getting Luke Skywalkered, only bloodier since fans don’t cauterize like light sabers. When I flung open the door, my fears were realized. She was out of bed! By the fan! Terrified! But… clean? No blood. No injuries. Kourey, what is wrong?
“A big scary bug! I read and read a big scary buuuugggg! And he gonna eat me!”
Eek! Big scary bug! But calling out would do no good, Keith was at work, and he makes me kill the bugs, anyway. Brave Mommy time; don’t freak out the kid any more. I snuck over and saw a big, hideous… messy pile of books. “Kourey, there is no bug here,” I said gently, as I picked “Peter Pan” off the top of the pile.
“Auuuuuugh!” she screamed, and ran to hide behind me from my side were she had bravely crept along with me, “He gonna eaaat meeee!”
I looked down at the pile of books that seemed to be the object of her terror and saw “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” on top. For the record, while we own Barrie’s “Peter Pan”, and I think there is a copy of Hugo’s “Hunchback”, and further while my 2-1/2 year old is clearly brilliant, these are not the books in her room. She has a set of big, beautiful “novelizations” of Disney animated films. The kids love them, but clocking in at a text-heavy 100+ pages each, they aren’t common bedtime fare. Kourey wasn’t being terrorized by French literature, she was cowering from a cartoon.
I tucked her in, reassured her with some of the plethoric reasons the hunchback was not “gonna eaaaat [her]” – he’s pretend, he’s actually the good guy, he’s in love with the pretty girl and she realizes he’s a nice guy and that’s more important than being pretty, he’s pretend, it’s just a picture, it’s pretend. The reason she decided was good enough to trust finally came to me “and I’m going to take this book with me tonight. OK?”
She fell asleep in about 2 minutes after our encounter. If she wants to dream of French literary characters turned Disney heroes, let’s hope she dreams of the Three Musketeers. Donald, Mickey and Goofy are fine, or she can branch out and dream about Chris O’Donnell’s d’Artagnan. Just … no hunchbacks after bedtime.