"I need to talk to you about something that I am afraid of." It is an hour and a half past their bedtime and this is the third time that this small boy has appeared in our bedroom door frame. The first time was to ask a question about the following day. The second time was to repeat something that he had said earlier that day, which was clearly, in his opinion, witty and hilarious. Then, he wanted to let us know that he had set up the dog with his own lounging area in his room. As much as I appreciate someone's ability to find themselves amusing and his home design prowess, his first appearances were met with the usual frustration and threats. As this small boy does the majority of his philosophizing after he has been tucked in at night, these evening emergences are common. But, there is no dilly-dallying when it comes to dread.
I sat up straight and encouraged my child to continue with his thoughts. Meanwhile, I was running through all of the possible culprits in my head. The dark? Monsters under the bed? Something in the closet? These all seemed like typical child fears. Then, to all of my fears - kidnappers, murderers, dolls, space. I felt that, being someone who has always been plagued by that bully Anxiety and her never-ending pestering, I had basically trained my whole life for this conversation. A panic professional, if you will. I awaited his revelation.
"Well....will our house ever flood?" I have to admit, I did not see this one coming. I mean villains, imaginary or real, maybe, but water in the basement? That was a surprise. Not that it isn't valid. Floods can be devastating. I just didn't expect that this was a concern for kindergarteners. I explained to my beautiful boy that our house was on a hill and the chances of it flooding were very low." He seemed satisfied by my answer and disappeared from the doorway, only to appear moments later.
"Tornado?" Did this child watch a National Geographic special on natural disasters that I wasn't aware of? "Is a tornado going to come and take our house?" Now may not be the best time to introduce him to the Wizard of Oz. My husband jumped into an overcomplicated explanation about weather and geography, causing both mine and my little's eyes to glaze over. When the dissertation was complete, the little man turned on his heel and left the room. Or he at least took two steps out of our vision and then he was back.
"Fire?" The roof, the roof, the roof is on... Also, probably not appropriate in this moment. But, seriously, what has this baby been watching? We explained that the chances of this happening were also slim and where all of the fire detectors were. He nodded his exhausted little head, yawned and went back to bed content with his risk assessment.
In our house, we don't f**k around with fear. We lay all that shit out on the table. Rational or not. Acts of nature, serial killers, possessed dolls, the universe. We acknowledge it, talk about it, in my case - obsess about it, and, when we are able, try and face it. No dread dilly-dallying.
Does Mommy need to lose her shit?
Not this week.