Worst case scenarios were taking me over as my toddler's voice cut through the air with piercing screams. It was 10 o'clock at night and I was just about to get in the shower when something caused my normally solid sleeper to lose it. I threw down the towel and shouted at my husband, "Do you think he’s having a seizure!?!?" With no history of such, it was farfetched. And though the theory didn’t make sense, my imagination will run with anything it can recall reading about…once.
I bolted to Dylan’s room and found him standing in his crib (yes, he’s 2 and still contained), screaming himself blue. I picked him up and began patting his sweaty back through his shirt. Does he have a fever? I wondered. “It’s okay honey, shhh, mommy’s here. It’s okay.” I offered as he sobbed uncontrollably, covering my shoulder with snot. I sat down on his couch and continued patting his trembling, sweaty body. I’d never seen him so literally shaken up before. “Why are you crying boo boo? What’s wrong?” He pushed himself up from my chest and tried to catch his breath, staring at me with pouty, quivering lips before whimpering, “I killed the dino.”
…uh, huh? I wasn’t understanding. “What did you do?”
“Mommy!!! I killed the dino.” He mournfully repeated, as if confessing to some grave offense. Yeah, that’s not creepy. I didn’t even realize he knew the term “kill” or how to properly use it. Obviously I'm on top of things. Still, I clarified, "You killed the dino?”
“YES! Mommy kill the dino too.” Great, now I’m involved?!
But I had a feeling we weren’t the ones doing the killing. You see, Dylan specializes in backwards talk. When his shoes are too tight on his massive fat feet, he says they're "too big." So my assumption? The dino killed us...in a nightmare of course. Trauma alert! So I did my very best to explain that it was all a dream, that everything was okay, and once I was finally able to calm him down enough to put him back to bed, I confirmed he didn’t have a fever and peace'd out of there.
He slept through the night without a hitch and everything seemed to be fine until it was bedtime the following day. Suddenly we were back in a tizzy, as Dylan begged, "No bed! No Mommy! I killed the dino!” Ugh. After fifteen minutes of comfort and repetitive assurance that there would be no more dinos, he calmed down enough to go to bed. And the next day, same thing…and the next day…and the next day…until a week passed and now I've added dino hunting to our bedtime routine, as he insists he “show the dinos” that are in his bed.
We’re on week two of dino madness and it’s becoming more and more apparent that what started as a traumatic dream is now an elaborate scheme to avoid going to sleep. And as much as I want to tell the kid put a sock in it, I respect his cleverness too much to dismiss him. I mean, he has figured out how to channel a distressing event into an advantageous tool, after all. (THAT'S MY BOY!)
So yes, I clear the room for dinos and trick King Tricky into thinking his bedtime has been delayed...but the jokes on him- boyfriend can’t read a clock! We've been going to bed earlier than ever because the only thing that's killing anything around here are my parenting skills. I'm Queen of scheme here, son.