05 February 2013

The big bad wolf

Who's afraid of the big bad wolf 

Big bad wolf, big bad wolf? 
Ouisie is afraid of the big bad wolf. And due to this make believe character, she has not wanted to sleep in her bed for over two weeks. No matter how many times we promise there are no wolves, leave lights on, and play familiar lullabies on repeat, she howls for release.
What's that noise, mommy?
It is not only the night time. Throughout the day, familiar noises like the dog barking, airplanes, helicopters and the water boiler popping send her racing to hide behind my legs. Each time we acknowledge the noise and name it.
I not scared of big bad wolf, mommy.  

She rebuilds her confidence by talking about the noise and not needing to be afraid. Come bedtime, the fear of the wolf returns.

I stopped reading The Spooky Old Tree and Where the Wild Things Are,  hoping some Dr Seuss might be the magical cure.

We tried explaining to her that a wolf is just a dog and lives far far away from our home. I even put the wolf in a permanent time out. But to no avail. The image in her head is big, bad, and not at all witty.

And then, a few nights ago, as I woke to gale winds howling past the windows, I understood. It was the wolf. He was trying to blow our house down.

I admit of late I, too, am afraid of the big bad wolf.  Unfortunately my wolf is not fictional. He appears regularly in the top news stories and is ruthless.

He was at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut on that terrible Friday last December. A horrendous killing that still haunts my dreams at night. The big bad wolf was in Alabama just this past week when the 5-year old boy was abducted off his school bus and held hostage for a week in a bunker. The wolf is unpredictable and a coward. And sadly, unlike Little Red Riding Hood, many of his victims do not go unharmed.

These days, I find myself holding my daughter even closer. I forever want to keep the wolves, the hate, the sheer meanness of the world- OUT of her life.

But I cannot.

Sure crime has always been here and bad things happened when I was a child, but somehow the world seems crazier. It feels uncertain.

Perhaps growing older just makes you more aware. Maybe being a parent makes the world seem scarier.

At age two, reality and fantasy are one and the same to our daughter. I want to preserve that innocence for as long as possible.

I know in the coming years I will have to explain who are the real bad wolves. But until such time, we will focus on getting rid of this ornery one.

When needed, our arms will act as her protective hideaway tunnel and, on nights she sleeps in our room in order to rest more soundly, we will feel blessed.

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