Veronica has been refusing to go to bed on time all week. Long after lights-out, the sounds of Tuffins and her merry band of stuffed animals can be heard, despite repeated attempts to return her to her pillow. When she finally would fall asleep, it was on the floor surrounded by all her shirts she pulled out of her dresser, and we would try to gently return her to her bed before heading to bed ourselves.
Last night was different. Whether it was the culmination of several late nights and early mornings, or some other unknown quantity, it wasn’t long before Veronica was sleeping soundly with Lion tucked securely under her arm. When we peeked at her before going to bed, a slight shift to put her head back on her pillow was all that was needed.
Fast forward to 3:00 am. A shriek comes over the monitor, followed by calls for Daddy. Daddy rises and hurries across the house. Mommy follows groggily.
By the time I got there, Paul was headed to the kitchen to refill Veronica’s drink. That is not at all unusual for her to wake and cry about, so I sat on the bed next to her where she was eyeing her pile of blankets with trepidation. Maybe it wasn’t just the empty cup that was bothering her.
“Mommy, there’s a skunk in my blankets.”
While we had been reading a kid’s animal encyclopedia earlier that day, and we did come across the “stinky skunk”, there was nothing to indicate that it had affected her in any particular way. In fact, if she was going to have nightmares about anything, I would have expected it to be about this video we watched on the internet together.
But somehow the “stinky skunk” stuck with her, and she awoke thirsty and also convinced there was a large rodent in her blankets. Luckily Daddy managed to convince her that the skunk had gone home to sleep, and that she should do the same. We tucked her back in, and returned to finish our night of sleep.
She remembered the skunk when she woke up this morning, and I have a feeling that it will be a conversation piece for quite some time. Our nightly ritual will likely now include an inspection of blankets for sneaky skunks that will be told firmly to go home because it is bedtime.
So if your child awakes crying in the night, be sure to check her blankets for skunks. You never know when the little critters may appear, and vigilance is the only sure way to avoid their blanket-stealing antics. Which is why I feel this information is important enough to share with all you fellow parents, so you can be prepared.