The Diminishing Returns of Repeated Scare Tactics

Every night after we read stories and take medicine and put jammies on, we send my daughter up to brush her teeth and then one of us parents goes up to tuck her in.  One day, as I was walking up the darkened stairs to her bedroom, she jumped out and yelled “Boo!” at me, causing me to leap through the ceiling and die.  She thought that this was hysterical, so the next night she did it again.  And it was still a little startling.  And then she did it again.

Look, people, I can only pretend to be scared so many times.  Yes, it is dark up there when you turn the hall light off, and no, I don’t know the exact moment when you are going to yell “Boo!” but come on.  I know you are up there.  I know you are going to yell it.  It is not scary anymore.

A few nights ago, I guess sensing that I was no longer sufficiently scared, she jumped out and yelled “Boo!” at me, and then said, “I have a new hiding place!”  She had apparently jumped out from my bedroom, instead of the area by her door.  Except the thing is, it is pitch black up there!  I can’t tell where she is jumping out from!  She could drop from the ceiling and I would have no idea!  The “Boo!” is the scary part!  It was very cute that she was trying to find a new way to jump out at me, but her clever innovation was wasted in the blackness.

I don’t know if she does this when it is her mother’s turn to tuck her in or not, but I have to tell you that I feel bad.  I like that she is doing a thing, and I wish I could act more scared.  But the element of surprise is very important during a startling mission.  Luckily for her, she does plenty of other things that terrify me.  Climbing really tall trees, talking to boys, talking to other girls, pouring drinks onto my phone, and stuff I can’t remember right now because I have blocked it out.  And I am also scared that there will be no planet for her to live on when she is old, or that she will not be able to afford school or get a good job, or that my dance moves will not be sufficiently embarrassing.  So there is fear enough to go around, but just maybe not the kind she was hoping for.

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Posted in Bad Parenting, Bed, Bedtime, Dancing, Fear, Parenting, Ruby, Scary.

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