You are fast asleep. Totally relaxed, the stress of the day just disappearing as you snuggle down in your warm, comfy bed. You stir just a little and adjust the blankets, relishing these blissful moments of much needed rest.
Then that feeling that something isn't quite right overwhelms you. Someone is there, watching you, gazing down upon your vulnerable self. You feel the chill bumps begin to rise on your arms and all your senses are heightened as you continue to register the presence of another human being in close proximity.
You can't stand it any longer, you just have to open your eyes. If a crazed murderer has managed to break into the house, your number is up, anyway, you may as well see who you're up against, right?
And there, in the soft moonlight flowing in from the slits in the (very dusty, but let's not mention that) closed blinds on the window, you see something so startling you bolt upright and accidentally whack your sleeping husband in the nose in your flailing panic.
Ever seen that scary movie called "The Ring"?
That beyond creepy girl who climbs out of the t.v. and murders anyone who's watched her weird home video and not made a copy?
Hmm...it sounds a lot less scary now that I write that out, kind of stupid, actually, but that's not the point. Wow. I really need to up my entertainment standards because this was a C or D movie AT BEST. Perhaps I should plan to read some smart people books (Oh, that was supposed to be a mental note to self, but oh well. You know by now that I am easily amused.). Maybe I'll start having more enlightening conversations with my philosopher friend instead...but probably not, I don't know what over half the words he uses even mean.
Anyway, if you haven't seen this movie, it's really creepy. I heard the second one was even more creepy and never watched it.
Back to the story, imagine you open your eyes and this is what you see:
Looks startlingly similar, doesn't she?
There she stands, not moving, not speaking, just staring at me through the tangled mess of long brown hair draping over her face.
You'd think by now I'd have learned a few things. Namely, I should never watch scary movies. But more important, I should lock my bedroom door. If they need me bad enough, they can yell from behind the closed door until I wake and hear them. In fact, I know of a friend whose parents applied that very standard to little nighttime wanderers in their home. They were NOT, under any circumstances, to enter their parents' bedroom at night without first standing in the doorway and calmly calling their mother and father to wake up first. Then, after mom and dad had a moment to orient themselves and be assured that a stalker wasn't looming over them as they slept, the child was granted access. I used to think it was kind of cruel for little Suzie to have to stand in the dark hallway, shivering with fright from a bad dream or struggling with an upset tummy, but now as a mother of night wanderers, I totally get it. Applaud their genius, actually.
You see, this particular child of mine has an intense fear of a couple things. First, these:
I can't say that I blame the kid. They are pretty revolting. It doesn't matter what kind, what color, what size, or real of pretend, she hates them. This is a fact which her sisters have not missed and have, in fact, capitalized on many times. Torture among sisters can be a very ugly thing.
So, several times a month, particularly during the summer months when spiders can be found fairly easily outdoors, she suffers from bad dreams. Spiders are usually crawling around under her bed or hiding at the bottom of her sheets. My favorite was the time she dreamed a spider stole her toothbrush and used it (which I don't really understand why this is a problem as she HATES to brush her teeth, but anyway, she was quite distraught over it).
The other subject of Lauren's bad dreams unfailingly involves this dicey character:
That's right, Malificent from Sleeping Beauty.
I don't know what it is that clicked in her mind to make her so terrified of the mean green lady, but she is. She can watch all the villains in other Disney movies and laugh at them, but Malificent means business. You don't laugh at Malificent.
This night was a Malificent night. And again, because I just never give up hope, I tried to avoid getting out of my comfy bed by just talking to her and trying to persuade her to pad back down the hallway to her bed. Malificent couldn't have been in your room, I said, because I personally locked all the doors and turned on all the night lights, and if she'd tried it (even though she's not real), we would've heard her right away. I put the "even though she's not real" part in parentheses because I've learned the hard way that this tiny fact of reality doesn't make one hill of beans difference to a 6-yr-old.
You think she's not real, huh? What a fool you are. I feel sorry for you in your naivety.
For the next TWO hours, my husband and I took turns on Lauren duty, trying in vain to coax the little darling to go back to sleep. We turned on closet lights, tried to break her from her dreamworld a little by getting her some water, showed her that nothing was lurking under her bed, etc. We finally got her to agree to lay down next to our bed in her brand new sleeping bag. Thinking this was a fairly reasonable compromise if it didn't become a habit, I settled back down for a few more hours' rest.
Have you ever tried to go back to sleep after having your heart skip several beats and adrenaline rushing through your system at the sight of someone standing over you while you sleep? It's not easy to do, but couple that with the fact that you've been up for two hours now having frustrating conversations and you can just forget it.
But finally, FINALLY, I managed to drift off just about the time I felt a little hand holding mine.
Yep. The next one in line had made her way to our room.
Her crazy, curly hair illuminated in the moonlight, her face just a shadow (it is somewhat like what I always imagined Bozo the clown would look like if he came to murder me at night).
"I had a bad dream, Mommy."
You know what? Forget it. For.get.it.
I threw my covers off, got out of my warm bed, picked up the three-year-old murdering clown standing before me and put her in my spot. Then, because I felt bad about leaving Lauren on the floor because we held out long enough against her pleas to be in our bed, picked her up and placed her in the bed as well. I left my husband sawing logs, blissfully unaware that he was now sharing his bed with two women, neither of which was his wife.
A mere two hours later, I woke up to get started with the day.
Know what I found?
Michael still sleeping with a 3 and 6-yr-old, but there was an addition to the little party sometime while I was gone. The 8-yr-old was sleeping peacefully in the sleeping bag next to the bed.
Heck, we could save a lot of money on our mortgage if we moved back into our one bedroom apartment we had as newlyweds. The idea that we'd need more space is just a big, fat lie.
"The Ring." people. Do not watch it if you have kids with long, dark hair who make a habit of walking the halls and lurking over people at night.