Going for the gold
It just now occurs to me that when it comes to parenting failures, I don't just get to the brink of bad and teeter on the edge, or even fall over its cliff unable to stop forward momentum. I sense impending doom and plunder right ahead as if getting to the other side will redeem me.
Case in point:
Sunday afternoon Ittybit wanted to watch a movie. So we HBO Anytimed "Coraline."
Now, I had previously watched about two-thirds of the film and thought it was tame enough for Ittybit, who, as a fan of The Nightmare Before Christmas, LOVES all things scary. ... How scary could the ending be?
Turns out the answer is: Pretty friggin' scary.
So when her hands came up to her eyes and she tells me she's ready to move on to watching grass grow or paint dry, instead of turning off the TV then and there as a sane parent would have - I convinced her to just hold out to the end.
The twisted hunk of matter that passes for my brain rationalized she'd already seen the worst part. When she'd seen Coraline become the heroine of her own story, the color would return to the Pink Palace and all would be right with the world again. The End.
"I'll be right here. I promise nothing bad will happen to Coraline. ... It's just a movie. She is an amazingly brave girl, and amazingly brave children always prevail in movies."
However, such thinking only works until the lights go out at bedtime and the shadows of innocuous things dance across her own pink bedchamber in threating ways.
The only thing you can do after that is settle in beside her under the covers and wait for her breathing to deepen and become steady. Then slip out and cross your fingers the shadows stay at bay until sunrise.