It was about eight o’clock and I had retired to my room for the evening to watch a movie. My husband was out of town, dining with business partners. Since my sanity-saving act of disengaging over a year prior, I hadn’t once provided childcare for my step-children. But H agreed to parent his children until they were in bed, so it seemed a no-brainer to be left alone with them in the quiet, peaceful house.
An hour into my movie, a soft knock on my bedroom door alerted me that something was amiss. The only child who ever comes knocking is my teenaged daughter. I could tell from the timid-sounding knock that it wasn’t Birdie.
“Yes?” I said, pausing the movie. The door slowly opened.
The Darlings peered in through the dark doorway, Cat’s arm was around Blue Buddy’s shoulders. Cat does that sometimes; she is like his tiny mother. Cat explained that Blue Buddy had been crying. I thanked Cat for helping, and told her to go to bed. Cat sped off toward her room.
“What’s wrong, Blue Buddy?” I asked, forcing myself to put an arm around him. “What scared you?”
“Jurassic Park.” Blue Buddy said.
“Aw, that must have been scary. Do you want a hug?” I asked.
“Yes please,” said Blue Buddy.
I hugged him, mentally bracing for one of the stiff little hugs he usually reciprocates with, but the one he gave back was soft, and genuine. It seemed to me it had been a long time since I had hugged him.
We walked him back to his room. I pulled back his covers.
“What brought ‘Jurassic Park’ to mind tonight, Blue Buddy?” I was baffled. He was six. He surely could not have seen that movie.
He got into bed. “At my mom’s house, they were talking about ‘Jurassic Park’, and it was really scary.”
I tucked him in, reassuring him that he was safe, that ‘Jurassic Park’ was just pretend, which he knew. He wanted me to turn on his closet light. I planted a couple of kisses on his forehead and left the room.
Blue Buddy repeated that same behavior for the next several nights, convincing his dad that he was fairly disturbed by his mom and stepdad’s inappropriate discussion of “Jurassic Park.” I didn’t land at the same conclusion. My take is this “fear” and accusation of impropriety is simply Blue Buddy’s newest attention-seeking move. He needs more from us–at least that’s my gut reaction.
And it wasn’t lost on me that as a matter of fact, Blue Buddy came to me, first.