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Afraid of a Story

I’m more scared than most kids. ~Kyle Piper 10/12/11

Kyle Piper as a Lion for Halloween
Kyle's first Halloween. (Lion suit courtesy of Aunt Nikki)

It’s no secret that Kyle is a bit of a scaredy-cat.  What’s really interesting, so was his dad- my brother,Ryan.  When Ryan had to go to the cellar, outside, or go to the garage in the dark, he would run like the dickens.  Even in high school, when my sister was at Penn State and my parents were out late with me at a Winterguard competition, we would come home to all the lights on.  It was like he was trying to light the entire hillside.  I’m the complete opposite.  I very rarely turn on lights and, when I do, it’s just a few to light my way.  When I leave a room, I’m the person that turns off the lights.  I prefer the dark, especially when I’m sleeping.  Now don’t get me wrong, I can fall asleep anywhere at any time of the day.  But I will admit, I have to turn my alarm clock away from me on my nightstand ’cause the numbers are too bright.  I can see pretty well in the dark, in fact, the sunshine sometimes hurts my eyes and makes them water.   You would think I have light colored eyes but, guess again, my eyes are brown.

Kyle Piper as JJ the Jet Plane for Halloween Heather Piper
Kyle was afraid of his JJ the Jet Plane costume. He thought he was going to fly away so I had to carry it around. (Costume courtesy of Aunt Nikki)

Last Wednesday, Kyle had to write a creative story for school and the theme was scary.  We both decided to lay on the floor when doing his homework and Kyle read me what he started.  He had a good introduction.  Then I asked him, “Well what happens next?” partially out of curiosity and partially to get  him thinking.  He said, “I don’t know?”

I never want to do Kyle’s homework for him.  I believe that’s a form of lying when a parent signs off on the work saying it’s the child’s, but in all reality it’s blatantly not.  Plus the bigger injustice is taking away the experience of figuring out the homework on their own.  Not to mention they are robbed of the education, which is why they are in school in the first place.  Now I also don’t believe in letting the student fend for themselves either.  I believe there is a balance that should happen to guide the child to think, helping them learn.  After all, parents, guardians, and mentors are coaches, helping to get them the tools to play the game, but not playing it for them.  This is one of those times I would have loved to take over and write the story.  But alas it was not my story and it was not my grade.

So, what’s the best way to get someone to think?  Yep, ask a question.  I kept trying to get Kyle to move the story forward, “Kyle what happened next? What color was the house? Describe the windows. What sounds did you hear?” et cetera et cetera.  He was doing really well, answering my questions and talking out the story before he wrote.  Then as the story progressed it gots scarier and scarier, keep in mind we are only at the second paragraph.  Kyle turns to me and said, “I can’t finish this, I’m too scared.”  I was taken back.  He actually was so into the story he was creating that he scared himself.  I said, “Kyle it’s your story, you can write it however you want.”  He said, “I know, but it’s scary and I’m more scared than most kids.”  O my Kyle, now this is where my patience has no understanding for such silliness, considering we were burning daylight and I had to get Kyle back so he could practice his trumpet, piano, and guitar before bedtime.  I said, “Come on Kyle just finish the story, you’re more than halfway done.”

Rita with Kyle Piper as a Lion for Halloween
Gigi and Kyle. He wasn't happy about his first Halloween outfit.

Just then I had to get up to go to the bathroom and he jumped up and said, “Where are you going?”  I said, “I have to go to the bathroom, keep working on the story.”  He said, “I’ll wait for you,” and he started to follow me to the bathroom.  Now keep in mind that the bathroom is in eyesight from where we were laying on the living-room floor.  I said, “Kyle just finish the story it’s getting late.”  He said, “But I’m scared.”  That kid waited by the door and talked to me until I came out.  Then I went into my office to grab another eraser in case we needed it and he was practically on top of me.

I finally managed to get him to finish the story.  He couldn’t handle a scary ending but he did put a twist in the story.  He had a character jump out and yell boo.  I remember him telling me his teacher did the same thing when she was reading them a story in class.  I guess that made a real impression on him.

Looking back on it now, I wonder if his general fear was my fault.  You see, when Kyle was barely able to walk, I would hide in corners of the house and jump out and scare him.  Not often, but sometimes if the mood struck me.  Being the mature one that I am (sarcasm) I would find his scared face and the way his whole body would stiffen up to be funny.  I only remember him crying once or twice but, afterwards, the shock of being scared would wear off, he would smile and I would chase  him around the house till I caught him and tickled him to the ground.  It seemed harmless at first until someone told me that a young child could have a heart attack if they are scared.  Yikes, so I stopped that immediately, although I still chased him around the house, even now-a-days.  Was it my fault?  I never did that with my brother.  So is being skittish a hereditary thing?  Is it from a strong imagination?  Or is it a learned action?  I bet it’s the latter, especially since I am remembering all the haunted corn mazes and hayrides I’ve done with Kyle.  I’ll explain those later.

Published inCommon SenseEducation & LearningFamilyMilestoneObservation & Imagination


  1. Hey, you stated in a much more direct way what I was trying to communicate, thanks, I will recommend your site to my friends.

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    • Hi Ruben, Thank you for your feedback. What were you trying to communicate? Do you have a little one? I’d love to hear your story.

  2. Jen Galbraith Jen Galbraith

    I’ve been told lots of crazy things that aren’t true… like if you fall from a great height you’d be so scared you’d die of a heart attack before hitting the ground. I can tell you I’ve been scared shitless on a lot of skydives, but given that there’s no pre-existing cardiovascular disease, have survived 1100 great falls 🙂

    Our son moved out in Aug, with less than ideal results for his future, but there’s not much I can do about it. Andy won’t let me around his kids much because I’m not Catholic and apparently I might rub off on them? Yeesh.

    I love watching Kyle grow up in yours and Nik’s Facebook posts and your blog… you write really well, and I enjoy reading.

    • LOL I guess I’ve been told some pretty shady urban legends too. That was one I didn’t want to prove false or true, so I stopped being the monster in the shadows. I guess you’re right, I’ve been scared stiff and I’m still kicking! Wow, some day I will go skydiving with you! You have a really exciting hobby!

      Sorry to hear about your family. Sometimes people come around, especially when you least expect it. Maybe in the near future or down the road. I’ve learned you can never predict what’s going to happen and not to take life for granted.

      Thank you so much for being a part of my blog, you know you’ve always been apart of my family. Kyle is a lot of fun and I enjoy writing the blog entries.

  3. Jen Galbraith Jen Galbraith

    Great essay… but unless the child has cardiovascular disease, jumping out and saying ‘boo’ won’t give them a heart attack… that’s just kind of silly 😉

    • Thanks Jen! Really? maybe I was told that so I don’t do it anymore… of course I’m not very delicate when I yelled Boo…. it was more like a banshee scream and run toward him. Of course you know, it’s true what they say, children learn from adults. Later on, he would do the same thing to me, and let me tell you, he got me good a few times! Love my little man, he’s the coolest!!

      How is your little one and all of your brothers little ones?

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