It started when a box arrived from Amazon. Innocent enough. I opened the box and instead of peanuts or bubble wrap, the extra space had been filled with one very long piece of thick brown paper. Paper! I thought. The babies love paper. So I pulled it quickly out of the box.
It was one huge, very long coil. Like that endless scarf up the sleeve trick it kept going, up in the air and down, smothering the living room. It was a thirty foot python! And loud, too. CRINKLE CRACKLE SHHHSHSHSHHSSH. It coiled in a giant pile around my feet, the chair, the whole rug, resting up against the play pen.
M went absolutely ballistic. Not just any scream, but her truly scared, panicky scream.
So that’s when I became a responsive mother and went to comfort her… Or not. That’s when I decided I would reason with her, show her it was just paper. “See, it’s just paper,” I said soothingly, crinkling it a little bit. “It’s okay, it’s just paper.” And I tossed some of it near her. Oops. She started whimpering her high whimper reserved for times of extra stress, gulping breaths. She was truly terrified.
At this point I realized things had taken a wrong turn. Bean had also joined in the screaming, though she didn’t seem quite as terrified as M. I pulled the paper away and sat down to take them into my lap. Eventually they got over their fear, first Bean poking at the paper tentatively, and then M.
Next time I will try not to terrorize them with giant paper snakes.