I’ve noticed for some time now (years) that my daughter does not handle stress well. I will take a wild guess that she gets that quality from me; however, I am a little surprised by what tends to frighten her. Here are two instances in which I have been regaled with the sounds of torture where there was none to be found.
I was sitting upstairs on my bed, working on my computer. (Yes, I do realize you’re not supposed to work in your bedroom, but… anyway….) My daughter was in her room down the hall playing with her dolls. I heard her come out of her room, pet the dog and head downstairs. A moment later, she was frantically racing back upstairs. I waited for the inevitable, and was not disappointed. She began screaming out in a high-pitched, horror movie-worthy tone, “Mama! Mommy! MOMMMMM!!!!! Where are youuuuuuuuuuuuuuu??????”
Now, ordinarily, I too might start freaking out. After all, for all I know, there was an intruder in the house chasing her up the stairs. However, we have a big dog who alerts us to random people passing by on the sidewalk outside. So had there been an actual intruder, he would have been barking like crazy. Since he was snoozing peacefully… I ruled that out and waited for my daughter to find me and explain her distress in a quieter voice.
“I’m in here,” I calmly told her.
“WHERE?” she inquired, breathing heavily.
“In here,” I repeated.
Just FYI: We live in a small townhouse. Typically, I am never more than, say, twenty-five feet away from her.
“Oh…. I COULDN’T FIND YOU!!!” she alerted me.
“Where in the world do you think I would go without telling you?” I asked her.
“Hmm. Well, I’ve been sitting in here with Kitty for the past two hours, ever since lunch. Speaking of which, I’m thirsty. Let’s go get something to drink.”
[There was a brief pause in the conversation as we walked downstairs together, tripping over both the dog and the cat.]
“So,” I inquired, “why were you looking for me? What do you need?”
“Just some love,” she told me, wrapping her arms around my waist.
“Then you came to the right place, little lady. I am right here for you.”
I was sorting through laundry downstairs at my parents’ house. My daughter was outside playing with her doll. (Yes, she does love her dolls.) I heard the door to the house open and shut. There was a pause. Then the familiar screeching ensued, “Mama! Mommy! MOMMMMM!!!!! HURRY!!! COME QUICK!!!” I tossed something into the dryer and headed upstairs with some of the finished laundry so it could be folded. She was standing in the foyer. No part of her body was scraped up, bleeding or broken (phew!)… but she was dangling her doll in front of me by one of its arms.
“QUICK, Mommy. Take her. TAKE HER!!!”
“Why? What’s wrong with her?” The doll looked okay to me. But then, looks can be deceiving.
“There’s a big ant crawling all over her!!!!!!!!!”
Well, that was good news, actually. We’d seen a small lizard come out of the concrete cracks in the backyard patio a couple weeks ago. A LIZARD. (Yuck.)
I took the doll by the arm and shook off the ant. It scurried over to the wall where I sent it to ant heaven. The moment passed and the living room became calm again.
A few minutes later, my mom came downstairs and asked my daughter, “So… what was wrong?”
My daughter looked at her confused. Apparently the Ant Incident had already been blocked out.
I heard you talking about something earlier,” my mom clarified. (“Talking about” being a huge understatement.)
“My doll had an ant on her,” was the reply.
“Oh,” said my mom, “I’m sure it probably just tickled her. They move so fast sometimes.”
“And it was really BIG,” my daughter shared, honing in on the seriousness of the situation.
That’s when my dad walked in, “What kind of an ant?”
“A black one,” I replied.
“But why was it so BIG???” my daughter asked me, as if I know anything about ants.
“Ants come in all sizes, shapes and colors,” I told her.
“So do uncles,” my dad interjected…
… thus ending the conversation with us all rolling our eyes and shaking our heads at him.