I live with my husband and son in the northwesternish suburbs of Chicago. For those of you unfamiliar with midwest weather...we get massive (as my mother calls them, 'whomp-ass') thunderstorms in the summertime.
I remember them fondly. My sister and I shared an attic room growing up and I remember waking up to lightning and thunder, to find her awake as well. That room had no air conditioning and we'd sleep with the window open to the elements. Sometimes she'd crawl into my bed and I would watch the window; throwing the blanket over her head during particularly scary bits so she wouldn't be scared.
It is one of few times in my life I've felt successful at protection.
Last night we had a medium-sized storm. Milo, Mr. Smith and I were playing around on the living room floor before bedtime, and it had begun. The lightning flashed through the curtains and there was a faint rumble of thunder.
Milo looks at me, brow furrowed, and begins to tell me that he's scared to go in his room alone because of the storm.
Except he isn't that articulate yet. What he said sounded more like, ' Door, mommy. Boom BOOM! Mommy....dooooooouurrrr. boomboom.' in a plaintive voice.
I looked at Mr. Smith for confirmation.
"I think he's saying he's scared of the storm...?"
Mr. Smith nodded.
I draw our son to my lap and tell him that the boomboom cannot hurt him. That it is clouds making noise. That rain says dibble dibble dopp dopp, just like Mr. Brown.
Milo did not seem convinced, but he was by no means freaking out. We did the normal bedtime routine. I opened his blinds slightly, because when I set him in his crib he stared at the window.
With the furrowed brow. He gets it from his daddy.
I put a doggie at the window, explaining to Milo that he'd be protected. You aren't supposed to dismiss your child's fears.
Milo still stared at the window. I tucked him in with his blankies, explaining that they would also keep him safe. This technique had worked for me personally in the past. Special blankets can be used as shields against monsters, thunder, the walking dead, and the dark.
Milo still stared at the window, which by now was lit up regularly with lightning.
I hugged and kissed him and told him everything would be all right. I told him that mommy would come if he called me. I told him good night, turned on an extra night light and left the room.
Remembering those nights as a kid, being genuinely frightened by the weather, and soothed by the presence of my sister; my heart wanted so very achingly to stand over him or just snuggle him to sleep.
But I knew he'd be fine. I knew he would fall sleep. I knew if he cried out; or if there was a loud thunderclap, I would go in there.
I only lasted about ten minutes before I checked on him. He was quiet in his crib, still turned towards the window...with his little blankie pulled over his little head.
Oh my little man...
I moved the blanket from his head, thinking he'd be asleep...he turned towards me...giant blue eyes open wide.
Oh my little man...
I tucked him back in and kissed him. The storm was dying down. He never peeped. For all I know he was really enjoying himself and wanted to torture me by tricking me into thinking he was scared.
I have no good way to end this...Milo is awake now and I need to de-scale my coffeemaker. Good thing we had instant or I'd have a real problem.