Last week, my babies went to bed for the first time in what must be a year without making me go back in there to resettle them. A magical secret of happiness and sugar plums as they drift off to sleep? Hardly. Actually, I scared the pants off of them. But it was an accident, I swear!
They love stories, especially during potty time. On this particular night, they’d requested stories about a witch. So I made one a prince, the other a princess, and the bad guy was a witch. (Okay, okay, I’m no JK Rowlings, I get it.) Anyway, after the story, we continued playing a game about the witch. She was coming. The prince and princess had to get away! It was time for bed, and if there’s one thing the babies hate, it’s getting into their jammies. So, I had the brilliant idea to make them magical jammies that would protect them from the witch overnight. To get them into bed, I told them the witch was coming, and we had to go hide under our covers to be safe. I was just trying to get them into the room for the bedtime routine. But on this night, there was no bedtime routine. In its place, I had two cowering babies, eyes full of fear, clinging to me as I said goodnight to them.
They allowed me to leave without protest, and I heard not a peep from that room for the rest of the evening. Why? Because I’d told them (in play) that if they were very quiet and stayed still, the witch wouldn’t see them.
I felt horrible. My husband and I had explained to them over and over again before we left the room that the witch wasn’t real, that we were only playing a game. No dice. Had I terrified my children? Had I scarred them for life?
I was sure of it. I was ready to pick up my worst mom of the year award.
Thankfully, my mother-guilt had underestimated my babies. They made it through the night in tact. The morning came and they were bright and bushy-tailed, ready to take on the day. And that night? They asked for the witch game again.
They have requested the witch game every night since, and every night now, instead of a long drawn-out bedtime routine, they hop under their covers quickly and quietly, accept a kiss and go to sleep. The fear has left their eyes, and they’re simply caught up in the game before bed.
This might be the best development ever. What a lucky accident.