Sometimes the heroic thing is not what you do, but what you choose not to do.
So tonight I was putting the kids to bed, and while they were getting ready, I was working on laundry. I came back and tucked Ollie in, and Evelyn was in the bathroom. So I did what anybody would do in that situation: I sprinted into her room and dove behind her bed, the better to jump-scare her.
Now, this all happened in a split second, so I didn’t really have time to formulate a plan: when you see an opportunity, you have to seize it! As I crouched there, hiding, I vaguely thought maybe I would wait until she got into bed and then reach up under her covers and grab her leg.
Except the minute she came in the room and tentatively called, “Daddy…?” I realized I had made a terrible mistake. Grabbing her leg after she was in bed would be TERRIFYING! What was I thinking? Who would even do that?? She would never be able to sleep again! I was hiding on the side where the closet is, which is already terrifying enough on its own; even to jump out and say, “boo!” would probably scar her for life.
She was already coming into the room, and now I was trapped. It was getting to the point that if I moved, or even so much as breathed, it was going to be just as scary. I wracked my brain for any kind of non-threatening way to notify her of my presence, crouched on the other side of her bed. Not even to explain why I was there — that train had left the station — but even to just get over the initial, “Hey, it’s me crouching over here on the side of your bed trying to scare you, not some axe murderer or monster or anything!”
And apparently what my brain came up with was to make a high-pitched, “merp!” (Evelyn later said, “Were you trying to make a guinea pig noise??”)
And it was so ridiculous and non-threatening that it totally worked, and we both had a good laugh over it, and nobody peed their pants, and nobody got scarred for life, so basically I am a hero who single-handedly saved my daughter from a lifetime of PTSD and therapy YOU’RE WELCOME EVELYN.