One Couple's Stumblings Through Parenthood and Marriage

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

FOR HIRE: Exorcist

Why is it that when children (toddlers and younger) wake up in the middle of the night, it is never to laugh, or sing, or shout for joy. It is always to cry and fuss. Or, in the case of Genna last night, to groan, snarl, and scream as though possessed by a demon.

It happened several times, which made for a wonderful night of sleep. The first couple times, Annie and I alternated and would go in there to settle her down. She would just be lying in her crib, thrashing and screeching. She wouldn't utter a single word - unless she was actually speaking in demonese. Each time I walked intothe room, I expected to find her floating in her crib, bathed in an orange hell-fire glow. Thankfully, that didn't happen.

I finally figured out that she wasn't awake during these episodes. So, the next time she started up, I grasped her shoulder and shook her to wake her up. It didn't work - she kept up her banshee wail. I then picked her up and held her out at arm's length. It was dark, but I could tell by her silhouette that she hadn't sprouted batwings or horns. That was a good sign. I began talking to her, "Genna, where's daddy? Where's daddy?" After asking her about five times, she leaned in to kiss my cheek. Could she be returning from Hades? I then asked, "Where's kitty?" (her favorite pink beanie-babies kitty). At last, human speech returned to her. She pointed into her crib, and said, "Kitty's in there." I handed her the kitty and she laid her head against my shoulder.

She didn't make another peep after that. Perhaps I have some talent at exorcism. I'll try using it again tonight - Julia is getting her six-month shots, and will quite likely require some demons to be cast out.

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