Tuesday, February 27, 2007

No Monsters Allowed!

There's currently a simple sign created using black Crayola marker that is taped to my son's bedroom door. It reads:


The no is underlined three times, of course, to emphasis the point.

Some time towards the end of last week Alexander started whispering the word "monsters" and "scared" when I was putting him to bed. I, of course, assured him that there are no monsters. I don't know, maybe he can call my bluff, because, as I'd feared not too many years ago, how was I going to lie to him about this? How was I going to tell him that there was no such thing as monsters when I myself was frightened of the bogeyman? In any case, he wouldn't buy my denial of monsters, so I told him that Daddy would protect him from the monsters. He whispered the word "safe" and soon after he settled in to sleep.

Then came this past weekend, when I was working late doing a stock inventory (and not arriving home until sometime after 11:30 -- well after Alexander's bed time) when Alexander's talk about "monsters" continued. Only this time is was "monsters" and "Daddy" and "safe" -- well with me still being at the store, and unable to protect him from the monsters, Francine had an excellent idea. She comforted him by giving him the power to dispel the monsters. She suggested that in the morning we make a sign to put on his bedroom door saying no monsters were allowed here.

It's quite cute. We all made the sign together. He proudly looks at it and says "No Monsters Here!" And it seems to work.

Last night, when I was putting him to sleep he started talking about the dark and monsters and they said "sign" and "safe" to assure himself that there were no monsters here in his room. Then he asked me if there were monsters downstairs. Again, my first instinct was to say: "Of course there are monsters downstairs -- monsters love the basement. They especially love hiding under the stairs and reaching out from between the risers to grab your ankles and trip you when you're walking down the steps. There's also more hiding behind the furnace in the shadows, which is why it seems like the furnace is making so many strange noises." It's really tough being an adult who believes in monsters.

But yet again I lied to him and said that there were no monsters at all in the house.

I started to envision making more signs and posting them all over the house. Then I started to think a little more realistically about monsters. No, not he creepy crawly stirrings of an overactive imagination, those things that go bump in the night. The real monsters out there. The predators, the evil, terrible people that every parents wants desperately to keep their children safe from. I know that soon after trying to talk my son out of believing in monsters, I'm going to have to explain about these real life monsters to him.

If only there were a sign to keep them away.


Ameratis said...

Of course you must read him "Where The Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak because that is the perfect book for dispelling monster fears (maybe it will work for you as well)

As for the real monsters in the world, the fact that Alexander has a Mommy and most importantly a Daddy who will sit down with him one day and tell him how to avoid those monsters as well is a very good thing! Ignorance is what allows the monsters to succeed most of the time.

Franny said...

I hear you. Nasty people out there. The sign is a cute idea!

lime said...

francine is brilliant! yes, the other hard truth will come soon enough...for now he just needs to know mom and dad will keep him safe.

Rainypete said...

Let him live in the cozy warmth of the home until he needs to. He'll learn about the harsh and cruel world soon enough.....no need to rush him into it I say.