Since she started school, Serena has developed this fear of being alone. She wants someone with her at all times: while she’s eating her snack, going up and down stairs, and especially when she goes to the bathroom.
She says she’s afraid of “spooky things”.
The other morning, I was standing in the bathroom watching her pee and she said, “Mama! I don’t need you to be in the bathroom with me right now. The spooky things that I am afraid of can’t wake up when it’s this bright out. Even if they do wake up, they can’t come out. They can’t be in this bright.”
And then I thought, ‘wait, the spooky things come from somewhere?’ This is the first I have heard of that, and it’s exciting. If she knows where the spooky things live, maybe I can help her get rid of them for good. I’m imagining they’re in the bathroom cabinet, and that opening it up and cleaning it together might do the trick.
“Where do the spooky things come from?” I ask.
“From the scary thoughts inside my head.”
Oh, those spooky things. We have all met them, the frightening thoughts that bubble up when we’re alone in the dark. Sorry, kid. No cure for that one. At least for now you can have Mama hold your hand while you pee.
I don’t know what I’ll tell her in 20 years when the spooky things are about bills and relationships and global warming.