“But I’m afraid of the dark!” cries my barely four-year-old daughter. We’ll just call her Tequila. If it wasn’t for that shit she wouldn’t be here in the first place, if you’re picking up what I’m layin’ down.
It’s the same crap every night. Somewhere around three and a half she developed a crippling fear of the dark. I try so hard to be sympathetic; I can remember being a kid and being afraid of what monstrosities might lurk in the blackness of night. But her bedroom is constantly illuminated with the backlight of her fish aquarium, a moving nighttime animal safari picture, a charming Tinker Bell night light, and a flashlight that never leaves her tiny hands. Even the sparkliest of new age vampires would burst into flames from all the light cascading out of that room at 4 am.
But it’s not enough. It’s NEVER enough.
I’ve tried time and time again to explain that a phobia of our position on the Earth in relation to the sun is illogical; but Tequila won’t hear of it. She’s afraid, and that’s that.
It’s the same routine every night: 10 minutes with her “big” light on, then 10 more minutes with the hallway light on, then I extend that 10 minutes until the little shit is asleep. As soon as she’s out I tiptoe into her room and turn off her flashlight that she clutches as tightly as I do my flask during holidays with the in-laws.
At this point I attempt to start my evening of binge drinking errr reading and meditation, only to be disturbed at least three times before ever achieving the pass-out stage to diffuse the wailing screams of “I dropped my flashlight!!!” or a similar midnight meltdown. Once I do fall asleep, I get to rise from the dead at least four times to Hitchcock-worthy screams of terror emanating from Tequila’s room (and my liver.)
I’ve asked her repeatedly if she wants another nightlight, she says no because it would only cause more shadows, and shadows scare her. So at four years old she understands the physics behind objects interfering with light to create shadows, but remains completely clueless to the fact that these shadows are NOT infested with kid-devouring demons. What a child’s mind absorbs and what it repels will truly lead a person to drink. As will a sink full of dirty dishes. Or an overflowing laundry basket. Hell, even a dirty look from the housecat. I’m easily led astray, people.
So she wants light. If it were up to me I’d install stadium lighting in every corner of her room and light that bitch up like a chorus of angels’ concert in heaven every evening, if it meant I’d get a full night’s sleep. But my husband, who has managed to sleep through every earth-shattering bawl of babydom and terrifying tantrum of toddlerhood is awakened in an instant to the smell of incandescent bulbs burning after bedtime. Apparently my insanity meter is not read as often or with as much concern as the electricity one.
Eventually exhaustion takes hold of everyone in the house, including Miss Diva Tequila, and a few moments of gape-mouthed, drool-full sleep are had by all.
When I wake up, I hesitantly wipe just enough crust off of one eyelid to take in the natural wattage surrounding me. What’s that… sunlight?
I stifle a scream, throw the covers over my head, and assume the fetal position. I’m always terror-stricken by that yellow orb of hell.
Work, dinner, repeat.
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