Xander has a spider that his Grandpa (aka my Dad) gave him. It's a bit, hairy tarantula, to be exact. And the thing is dead and encased in a plastic bubble. It's going nowhere. Xander adores this thing and calls it Fred. (No, I am not joking.)
While I am not particularly enamoured with Fred, I also have no fear of him either.
My Mom (aka Nanny), on the other hand, is petrified of spiders. Why my Dad gave this doubious gift to my 5 year old, I will never understand.
Fred came to live with us in November and we hid him under a tissue while Nanny was here visiting. I thought that perhaps with Nanny arriving again tonight, we ought to put Fred away and insisted that he go into Xander's sock and underwear drawer.
This should be the end of the story, but my young son is one who stews and frets. So we put the boys to bed last night and Liam was out in about 30 seconds. Xander, on the other hand, came downstairs for snacks (got nothing, as he ate plenty at dinner) and to talk. Once he'd been run back to bed for the third time, he was heard singing and complaining loudly from his bed.
Ray went up to coax him into going to sleep. I hear words like, "Well, being quiet is the first step to going to sleep." were part of that conversation. Eventually Ray gave up and told me that there was something weird going on with Xander, who claimed he couldn't sleep.
I finished what I was doing, and then went upstairs to find that Xander had shoved all of his blankets and his pillow to the bottom of the bed and was lying on his sheet looking at the ceiling miserably. I did what I knew was the right thing: I climbed in.
Climbing into Xander's bed is no easy feat. He has a loft bed from Ikea. Getting in is not horrid, but getting out is a gymnastic accomplishment when you are in your 30s and the ceiling is sloped.
Xander was ticked off. He rolled as far away from me as possible and refused to share the pillow and blanket. I snuggled in and spoke to him a bit at a time.
What was wrong? Nothing. Was he upset? No.
I was quiet a moment.
Then we talked about the day. He liked playing with Play Doh today. The movie yesterday was good. And I asked him if he was really hungry and he started to get silly and tell me about making giant mounds of sushi (kid does love his sushi!).
After the giggles, we talked about how sometimes trying to sleep and not being able to sleep makes a person anxious about sleeping, which also makes it hard to sleep. Vicious circle.
And I prodded to see what was making him upset: was it school? Nope. Nanny and Grandpa's visit?
Sobbing ensued. He was very happy for Nanny and Grandpa to come, but why oh WHY did Fred have to go away? He missed Fred. Fred was a friend. Please bring Fred back.
For the record, Fred spent the night IN Xander's bed. (Which made my Mom shudder when I told her the story.) And he will be on Xander's bookcase for the duration of the visit. His reasoning was that there was no way Nanny could get in there to see Fred. It's hard to argue, since the space is so tight between the end of his bed and the bookcase that I can't get in there either.
Most of the time we stand firm, but when something causes this much anxiety, it is sometimes better to negotiate and have peace and sleep.