We have a monster living at our house. It’s a creepy, sneaky, gnashing, thrashing, obstinant mutant Tyranasourus Rex named Sharktooth. Sharktooth lodged in Little Friend’s imagination, and hence our lives, thanks to that dear little movie I remember fondly from childhood, The Land Before Time. The film’s sweet pack of toddling baby dinosaurs made little to no impression on Little Friend, but that fiend of all bad guys, a T-Rex named Sharptooth (not Little Friend’s misinterpreted “Sharktooth”) lurched its way out of the TV screen and took up residence in our home.
Little Friend threw the movie away. Plop, into the trash. Thud, down went the lid. The whole VHS (old school around here, folks) went out to the curb. Sharktooth included. At least I thought he was out of our lives for good. But did you know? Sharktooth has super long claws that can scratch out of a garbage truck, a long enough memory to find our house again, and tiny hands that can open front doors. Sharktooth is back.
I’m glad we have Sharktooth. Sure, he’s as nasty as the Jabberwocky of Lewis Carrol’s Through the Looking Glass creation, at least in my imagination, and I can only infer he’s all that and worse in Little Friend’s, but if Sharktooth is as fearful as life gets for Little Friend and Little One, I’m glad.
I’m glad they don’t fear school bullies, or grades, or whether their clothes are cool enough, or if they left their lunchbox on the bus, or if some boy will ever like them, or losing a passport mid-European adventure, or paying the credit card bill, or being overdressed at the Christmas party, or not getting a job, or a baby’s fever spiking in the night, or empty nest-itis, or breaking a tooth in candy stolen from a kid’s Halloween stash, or a guest seeing the lego stash hastily shoved under the couch, or the end of the world. When Sharktooth takes a gracious bow and lets himself out the front door to nestle back into the trash at the curb and await the garbage truck, then, and only then, will I start to worry about what fear will take his place.
Meanwhile, I’ve got a Sharktooth all of my own. This particular monster reared a particularly hairy and ugly head the other morning. Little Friend was in her room, a grating siren keening noise coming from her usually lovely mouth, as she was forced–chain gang prisoner kind of forced, from the sounds of it–to pick up her room. Little One was in her room, a sobbing choking bleating noise coming from her usually lovely mouth, as she was forced–strait jacket lunatic kind of forced, from the sounds of it–to put on some clothes. And there was me. By the grace of God alone, I was somehow not sobbing, crying, sniffling, or wailing in commiseration. I took a step back and peered over my own shoulder as I wrestled with the 87th snap on Little One’s sleeper, and from my observation point, I realized I had a healthy new fear: Estrogen.
We are a family of three women. We three are all intense, emotional beings. I would like to think of us as three beatific angels. Except for the Estrogen Monster. She’s going to snort her way into the room, shred angelic gowns with her razor claws, and gnaw on some haloes with gleaming fangs. I fear for Big Friend as the lone Testosterone Knight battling our three-headed Estrogen Beast. Poor guy.
Some morning, when you hear sobs coming from three different rooms of the house, you can bet you’ll find Big Friend out on the curb, arm and arm with Sharktooth, waiting, just waiting, until it’s safe to come inside again.