10 Steps to Get Rid of the Tiger
My daughter says there is a tiger in her room. And if there isn’t one in her room, there will be one that’s going to get her when she goes to sleep.
It’s a black “tiger” (jaguar, I believe, but details, details) with yellow eyes that goes savage (have you seen Zootopia yet? Yeah, I blame that really good yet stupid ass movie for scaring the bejesus out of my child who insisted on seeing it for the second time for her birthday promising me the “tiger” didn’t really scare her and she’d be fine.) Negative. She’s still scared (or really good at manipulating me to not leave her at bedtime, or a really good actress, or both).
So if your child has this same fear of a tiger or any animal for that matter, here are a few tried and true steps I took to get through it. In chronological order of course:
- Reason. My child is five but mature for her age. I started with good ol’ reasoning.
“Where do you live? That’s right in a house in Connecticut. What country? Correct, America. Do tigers live in America? No, they live in India or China. Really far away countries. So far away, that tigers could never even get here on their own. The only tigers that may be around here are in a zoo and if there was some freak accident and they got loose, I mean, no there are NO tigers in Connecticut at all. You’re safe. I promise.”
- Promises. If reason doesn’t work, try promise.
“I promise you, there are no tigers in our house. No tigers in your room. I promise! I will keep you safe and no tiger will harm you. I promise tigers don’t live in Connecticut. I promise, pinkie swear no scary tiger with yellow eyes is going to attack you. Ever!”
- Bribery. Promise and reason let you down? There’s always bribery.
“If you go to sleep right now, I’ll leave the light on. I’ll let you read another book! Donut for breakfast?! Please go to sleep! There are no tigers and I promise you’ll be fine.”
- Threats. You’re getting pissed off now, right? It’s after 8:00 p.m. Your sink is full of dishes and you have to switch the laundry over. But most importantly, you have to see what is going on with that girlfriend Olivia Pope in Scandal! You have a date with the couch and a glass of Rum Chata on the rocks baby! This kid NEEDS to GO to SLEEP NOW!!!
“Enough whining! Seriously! There are NO tigers! Anywhere! Please trust me. I promise! Now go to bed or I’m taking your blanky and stuffie away! Time outs when you wake up! Go to bed! Please! I love you, but I’m serious. There are NO tigers. You are SAFE!!! AHHHHH!!!!!”
- Security Sweeps. More crying is ensuing now, right? I mean, you just yelled at your child who is crying over tigers and being scared. Ridiculous, I know but still… Olivia Pope can wait, I guess… Time to get down to business. Summon everything you’ve ever learned from Ms. Pope, Carrie Mathison, and Veronica Mars (our fictitious super stars, am I right?!) and sweep that room like you OWN it (well, technically you do).
“Okay, calm down. Want me to search the room and make sure there is no tiger? Okay. Looking in the closet and yes, I’ll lift up toys because tigers can hide under things. No, no tigers here. Checking the other side now, nope nothing. Orange? No, I don’t see anything orange in here either. Under the bed? Okay, nope all clear. Every toy bin I’m rummaging through is good…oh wait what’s that! Oh… no… it’s a… just kidding! It’s nothing! Your room is tiger free! Yay! Go to sleep now!”
- Inventive Tools. Just because you don’t see a tiger doesn’t mean there isn’t one who’ll show up later. You need to do something to make them feel safe that the tiger won’t get in. I tried many things at this step. Tiger trap? No, she didn’t go for it. Sleeping with a stuffed tiger because why would a tiger be mean to another tiger? Nope, didn’t work. She requested an alarm, a “real-life alarm just for my room that works so if a tiger comes to my room the alarm will go off!”. Instead…
“I have an idea! I’m going to take this light up princess wand and make it an enchanted wand with a magical spell so that if a tiger comes along you can zap it away! Okay here goes… Magic wand, I dub thee the power to disappear tigers! Okay it’s set, so if you see a tiger, you shake the wand and say ‘disappeario tiger!’ and the tiger will be gone!”
- Redirect. None of the above is working. Time to throw out a hail mary. Subject change!
“How funny would it be to dream about tigers wearing tutus and doing a ballet?! Or what if you dreamed about pink flamingoes playing soccer? Penguins doing the tango? Horses playing Go Fish? Oh, you have bad tigers in your head and they won’t go away no matter what and even though my ideas for better dreams are good ones, you’ll never get the bad tiger out of your head… I see…”
- Negotiations. You’re almost spent but hang in there!
“Okay enough is enough! You have two choices: A. I sit on your bed with you for a little bit and rub your back and you go to sleep. B. I keep the light on and you can read another book and then lay down. What do you decide? Oh neither…hmmm…”
- More Threats. You’re ready to lose your fucking mind! There are no Goddamn tigers anywhere! Why can’t she grasp this! I could sit on her bed all night and it still wouldn’t work. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
“That’s it! Please go to bed or I’m getting daddy!”
- Compromise. Time to make a deal so you can get some peace. It’s only been an hour after all. I promise, compromise in the end will work.
“Okay I’ll make you a deal. Leave the light on and I’ll come back and check on you every ten minutes to make sure there are no tigers and you’re safe. Deal? Deal! Yay! Okay see you in ten minutes.”
Most likely you’ll only have to go up 2-3 more times because then she’ll be asleep. And your tiger free house is at peace once again.
Good luck… you’re going to need it!