How to Console a Child (While Possibly Scarring Another for Life)

The other day I was talking to my sister on the phone.  Growing up in a family of five girls, I was the oldest and she was the second oldest.  Now we are both married and mommies, she with three kids and me with five.  Most of our conversations are filled with parenting stories, and occasionally, stories reminiscent of our own childhoods together.  Now while this post may not be traditional in the sense that I am talking about my children, it definitely is noteworthy in the sense that it is about parenting and, quite possibly, how she and I were shaped into the parents we are today (wonderful, of course).

Yesterday we were recalling a special, warm night long ago.  I was 6 or 7 and she would have been 4 or 5.  Now at this particular time in our lives, we lived in a nice, two story house in a nice neighborhood.  We were adventurous and imaginative.  We collected all sorts of skeletal remains and created our own museums and tried to charge admission (no one came, sadly).  We created our own amazing restaurant and put together the menu ourselves.  We even made the items and tried to get our mom to sample our culinary skills (she wouldn’t).

The house we lived in was not without its own stories, about which we loved to create wild fantasies.  For example, in the basement, there was a huge closet.  The first part of the closet could be closed off from the rest of the closet (thank God!!), and that was where our mom did the laundry.  The rest of the closet was filled with… mannequins.  Now why the previous owners had a bunch of mannequins down in their basement and left them so generously to us was beyond my understanding.  All I know was it was C-R-E-E-P-Y!

There was also a laundry shoot that opened up at the top of the second floor, on the first floor and went all the way into the basement.  The idea was that you could put your clothes down the shoot instead of carrying them down three or two flights of stairs.  However, the shoot was sealed at the basement end and not at the top.  Why?  Who knows.  What was stacked up in there at the bottom besides some of our unfortunate toys?  Who knows.  My sister and I liked to play a game where one of us dropped a toy from the second floor and the other caught it from the shoot on the first floor.  Sometimes we missed…

But perhaps the creepiest thing about the house, simply by the nature of its location, was our bedroom and its “closet.”  It was actually an attic (hello!  who puts attics next to bedrooms?!?) that was made into a huge playroom that had no windows, high ceilings and a 10 foot stuffed kangaroo in it.  Again, another creepy gift left behind by the previous owners.

Here is a crude diagram of our room and our bed placement in it:

our bedroom

One night after tucking us both in, saying prayers and kissing us goodnight, my sister started crying.  In came my mom and asked her what the matter was.

“There are monsters in the closet!”  she cried.

“No, there are no monsters in your closet.  Go back to sleep,” my mother gently said.

“Yes there are!!!!”  she cried even more.  My mom sighed and tried to comfort her, to no avail.  Finally, she offered the following:

“Listen, even if there were monsters in the closet, they would see Laura’s bed first when they opened the door and eat her instead.”

That comforted my sister and she went to sleep.  As for me… I’m not sure I slept so well.

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4 responses to “How to Console a Child (While Possibly Scarring Another for Life)

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