it happened. something that i have honestly dreaded since lily was born. tonight we scared her, albeit unintentionally. let me explain why i feel this way.
growing up we had a no scare policy in my house, though it didn’t start this way. there were many times when we would purposely try to scare one another, absolutely meaning it to be a fun joke, only to have it totally freak out the other person past the point of funniness. i remember once my brother hiding in a bedroom closet while i sat on the bed talking on the phone. in the middle of the conversation i glanced toward the closet to find him making a freakishly scary face staring at me while wedged between the door and frame. it scared me so bad that i threw the phone at him and ran screaming and crying from the room. paybacks can be a b*tch though, as he soon found out. while sitting on the toilet reading a book, my dad entered the bathroom wearing a halloween mask and screamed at the top of his lungs, “what are you doing?” needless to say, it was probably a good thing that he was sitting on the toilet!
it was after these particular incidents that our family instituted a “no scare policy”. the thought behind it being that family should always be willing to trust one another, not be fearful that someone is waiting for the opportunity to scare the crap out of you when you least expect it. now, i know that some might question my enthusiasm with this kind of family rule, after all, i actually pay money to be scared at haunted houses annually. (even when pregnant!!) however, i find that the build up and willingness to be scared at a haunted house is quite different than unwillingly be scared in your own home. anyway, it worked and everyone seemed a little bit more calm . . . especially me.
i always believed that we would have the same type of family rule with our own kids, i just never knew that it would need to start so early. tonight, after being in bed for at least thirty minutes, we could hear lily singing in her room. she was singing her own version of frosty the snowman. anyway, we were sure that she knew we were outside her room listening, because it grew louder and louder and more dramatic with each line sung. we were cracking up (and being the sappy mama, i was crying at how sweet it was)! the next thing i know, tom goes leaping into her room (yes, actually leaping) and singing along with her quite loudly. i ran in right behind him singing along too. little did either of us know, this would have the complete opposite effect we wanted. lily yelled and was at first really angry . . . then she burst into tears. i felt terrible. she kept saying, “don’t be loud like that again. don’t be loud like that again.” (ironic to hear from the girl that screams at the top of her lungs . . . daily.) i asked her if we had scared her and she sobbed back, yes. ugh. parenting fail.
anyway, we tried to smooth it over by apologizing and then talking about st. nick coming and leaving gifts for her tomorrow morning (which is something we had already planned before this happened), but she wasn’t buying it. even after tom had left the room . . . even after she and i took turns singing “beyond the sea” and scratching each other’s backs . . . she still was upset with us. i repeatedly said how sorry we were and asked for her to please forgive us. then i explained how sometimes people make mistakes and do things that they think other people will enjoy, only to find out that it really isn’t fun for the other person. i also stressed how when we say that we are sorry and we are forgiven that it is in the past and people need to move on from it. i think she got it, but we shall see.
so as i sit here and write this, tom is at walmart buying our last minute st. nick gifts for the kids. i fully expect the guilt of the incident to have set in and for him to return home with some ridiculous toy for lily to open tomorrow morning. toys and candy make forgiveness that much easier, right? perhaps in the eyes of a child they do!