Monster-Proofing

“There’s a stranger on my bed,” my four-year-old daughter was telling me in the kitchen as I whipped up some pancake batter for breakfast. For a second, dread filled me. I was alarmed that somebody could have gotten into the house, threatening the life of my daughter and the security of our home. But only for a second. I had to mentally slap my palm to my forehead.

A smile split my face, “Where? Show Mommy.”

She came around the kitchen counter to grab my hand and tug me towards the room.

As we crossed the threshold of the door, I said, “Quietly. We don’t want to wake the giant!”

She dragged me towards the bed, and started pointing accusingly with her index finger, “See!” There he was, wrapped in a comforter that is too small for him, looking ridiculously huge in the four-year-old’s tiny bed. He had to curl into himself to fit in the bed. I already knew that his back was going to hurt when he woke up.

“That’s not a stranger, baby,” I finally told her, “Go, look!”

Doubtful, the little girl looked up to me with eyes imploring for the truth. I reassured her with a nod and she slowly walked to look at the giant’s face.

A little shriek of delight told me that my daughter has realized who the stranger was. She cupped his cheek with her small palm. Quietly, as if unsure whether to wake him, she whispered excitedly, “Daddy!”

There could have been nothing more special waking up to your daughter’s face, all aglow with excitement. He quickly shut his eyes again, turned over the bed and faced the other way. The little girl shrieked with excitement, and run over to the other side. When you’re four years old, all of the high emotions sound like a shriek.

The little girl tried to shake the giant awake, “Daddy!” she said, sustaining the last syllable like a song.

Suddenly, the giant opened his eyes and roared. The little girl ran out to the kitchen, closely followed by the giant in a familiar chase around the house. “I’m gonna get you!”

“Run, baby, run!”

It wasn’t long until he caught her and attacked her with ten-thousand-finger tickles. The little girls shrieks and laughter were all muddled into one delicious sound.

It was just a little too much to jumpstart their day. Knowing they would soon be hungry, I went back to my neglected pancake batter and started heating the pan.

Soon, the giant and his prisoner sat quietly in the bed, beaming at her, waiting for their meal.

“How was Goldilocks’ bed, Papa Bear?”

“A little too small,” he replied, feigning his disappointment. “But there were no monsters under it. You can have your bed back tonight, little one. Thank you for letting me borrow it last night.”

“You’re welcome, Daddy.”

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