Nod Rover, Slumbering Shuffler, Rest Stepper, Doze Treader, Bunk Marcher, Snooze Creeper

by Amelia Kanan

This is not the culprit. Names and faces have been changed to protect the guilty.

When I’m babysitting, nannying or whatever you want to call it, most of my fears fly out the window. Things such as my squeamishness to blood, my weak stomach for odors and my aptitude for being fearful of ghosts and other things in the dark all disappear the minute I am responsible for others (unless they’re elderly people, then all these fears are amplified because we all know ghosts love hanging around old people). I can honestly say, in all of my years of babysitting (and that includes overnights, huge opportunities for fear), I’ve never felt afraid. Well, I’ve met my match. Sleepwalkers. The other night, I was sitting on the couch reading, when I saw a little head bobbing above my pages. It had been an hour since the 6 year old had gone to sleep. My heart began to race. I said “Buckley?” in a soft gentle voice. He was incoherent, looked confused, wasn’t talking or making eye contact with me. Immediately, I got the chills. I got up and tried to get his attention, “Are you looking for something, Buck? Are you Ok?” He was walking back and forth as if he was looking for something but it was strange because he wasn’t actually trying to look. I was scared to touch him because I wasn’t sure if that would freak out a sleepwalker. Insert: My hand touching the top of his head and Buckley going haywire, grabbing a knife and stabbing me because he’s in a manic panic. So instead I said, very seriously and sternly “Go back to bed Buck” (a long time ago, my Dad told me that’s what you’re supposed to do in case you ever come across a sleepwalker). Buckley was still unresponsive and pacing in an oval. I stood there thinking of my next move then he mumbled about “securing” something. At this point, I bucked up (no pun intended) and put my hands on his shoulders and led him back into his room. To my surprise he stayed incoherent, didn’t thrash or freak however, he began to remove his pants. Aha, of course! The poor guy just needed to go to the bathroom. I shuffled him into the bathroom and when he was done I tucked him into his bed and closed his door. The thing is, even though, I stayed calm and handled it just fine, it terrified me and totally freaked me out. Seeing his little face disoriented, his walk all zombie like, his voice muffled and robotic, it was as if a monster had taken over his body. Moral of the story: When it comes down to it, the thing I am scared of most aren’t ghosts taking over my soul or monsters waiting under my bed to grab my legs but little children sleepwalkers.