Angels were singing sweet twinkly songs, and I was wearing a long silver dress. Frogs were flying in a neat formation in the purple sky, and all the people clapped and cheered. The frogs flew in closer and closer until they landed on my shoulders. One hopped off and stood before me. He opened his mouth and spoke.
What? I'm not your Ima. You're a flying frog.
I opened my mouth to tell him off, when my tongue snapped out a good two feet and caught a fly. Chewing thoughtfully, I looked down. I had green webbed feet.
"Ah!" I woke up. I was in my bed. A little girl in a nightgown a bit too snug on her was around an inch away from my face. I took a deep breath and slowed my pounding heart. "Princess,"I rasped. I sounded like a frog. I swallowed painfully. My head hurt. I must have slept around five minutes since last putting the baby back in. The clock said 2:45. Three minutes. "It's the middle of the night. Go back to sleep."
"Ima, there are people in my room and they are having a party and now they are on Coco-pop's bed and they don't want to go home because it's dark outside."
I slid myself out from beneath my warm blanket and stumbled to her room. No party. Just Coco-pop, sitting up in bed. "Princess. There is no one here. Why don't you just--"
"Ima." It was Coco-pop. "Ima, the beds are moving. I don't want them to move."
Okay. Now, I am a grown woman, mother of three, college degree. And I am also really really (reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaally) afraid of the dark. I fought to keep my voice calm. "Girls. The beds aren't moving. There are no people here. It's the middle of the night. Go to sleep!"
On cue, Turtle woke up again. I quickly tucked the girls in and went to calm him down. I avoided looking out the dark windows and sang songs, mostly to soothe Turtle, partly to soothe myself. Outdoorsman came in, yawning, eyes half closed. "Everything okay?"
"Sure. This house is haunted, though, so we have to move."
Outdoorsman blinked at me, stared, then blinked again. He then retreated to the safety of the bathroom.
The whole night was a variety on the same theme. When the sun came up, one look into the girls' glassy eyes was all I needed. The house wasn't haunted. Both girls had a high fever.
So the first night of chanuka, which was supposed to include color paper and crayons and draidel stencils and latkas and doughnuts and presents had a lot less that and a lot more unabated misery with a chance of tears.
Happy Chanuka. It's a good thing we got eight days.