Monster! (Letter #037)

Run! Run like you've never run before!

My darling Baobao,

In the 29 months since we discovered she was pregnant, Mama and I have often looked back with no little sense of wonder on how easy we have had things with you, on how lucky we’ve been.

Mama’s pregnancy was easy and without complications; in fact, she only had two bouts of morning sickness during those nine months. But for your very first tooth, when we spent maybe two hours trying to console you, teething has been a breeze. You’ve slept through the night since you were three or four months old and you never had colic — in fact, thanks in no small part to Covid-19 and its resulting isolation, you’ve never even caught a cold (yes, we’re aware that that isolation, if it continues much longer, might well give us troubles down the line). I could go on, but I’ll stop with that, already pretty impressive, list.

We’ve been very lucky so far, and we know it.

But now we’ve got a problem.

We are a household with central heating of course, but without air conditioning, central or otherwise. Therefore, we have a number of electric fans about the house. One, in the kitchen, of a traditional propeller style, and since last summer, three tower fans that rotate.

Surely by the time you read this, that will seem no big deal to you. And indeed, it was no big deal to you last summer.

But when, last week during an unseasonably hot few days in April, Mama fired up the white tower fan in your shared space, you freaked.

I had left you on the other side of the hallway gate while I took a pee, and you wandered towards Mama as you usually do.

But when you entered the room and saw the fan — the monster — you rushed to Mama, crying. She scooped you up and you clutched her neck for a while, then pointed towards the gently rotating fan and, eventually, Mama figured out what was bothering you and turned it off.

The great white tower of doom!
Who knows what monsters lurk in the mind of a small child? Photo by Papa Zesser, April 16, 2021 (I took it out while she napped, people!)

That night, though the fan was off, you were scared to go to bed, but Mama managed to cajole you into your crib that night and the next. And I noticed, in the mornings, that you were ever-more nervous of that silent, still, white tower. First morning, you sidled by it to reach your drawers to pick out your costume for the day; the next, you hugged the edge of your crib, and the third morning you wouldn’t even get close to it.

And, that third night, you refused to sleep in your own crib. Mama, though she wasn’t sure why didn’t argue — quite rightly, I think. Instead, for the first time since the day after your first birthday, you spent a night in the portable crib by our bed.

About an hour after Mama came downstairs to tell me you were sleeping in our room, I added the proverbial pairs together and came up with four. “The fan!” I told her, “it must be the fan!”

That night, I hid the offending object in the closet pending a more permanent solution to the problem. And we need to figure out a way to deal with this! The air circulation upstairs isn’t that good even with windows as wide as they’ll go; we’ll need a fan in that room when summer comes on in earnest!

Meanwhile, every time you go into that room, you point to the empty milk-crate in which the fan sat for so many months and exclaim, “Done! Done!” with no little relief. But Mama says you still cry a little bit every night when she puts you down, and it takes some cajoling, as well as a visit from your gho-gho (see photo below), Carl the Second, to get you settled down.

What, you've never seen a blended family before?
Baobao and her big brother Carl the Second prepare for a nap this afternoon. Photo by Papa Zesser, April 16, 2021.

Perhaps one of those good people reading these letters over my shoulder will have a suggestion on what we should do to ease your fears …

Love always,

Papa Z — Ottawa, April 16, 2021

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