The Dark Side of Imagination by Military Momma

The other night my daughter Punka, went down (surprisingly) peacefully for her bedtime. Within an hour, she erupted in a bloodcurdling scream that sent me running for her door. I had never heard her scream like that before, so of course my mind involuntarily ran through worse case scenarios. Had she fallen out of bed and broken her arm? Was there an intruder in the house? What could possibly make her scream like that?

I reached her room to find the culprit was a wolf. Yes, a wolf. Apparently in the haze of her dimly lit room, my imaginative 2 year old had found the wolf’s eyes (which had been featured in Aesop’s Fables at Library Story Time that afternoon). I calmed her and asked her to show me the wolf, and she franticly pointed to the tiny lights on the smoke/carbon monoxide detector. I tried to soothe her fears with logic (not a toddler’s strong point), but that didn’t work. In the end, after retrieving Daddy (appropriately still dressed in cammo uniform and hunting make believe wolfs), turning on the light, and rearranging anything that might cast a shadow, she finally settle down to sleep.

The next night she saw birds in her closet – a small pile of clothes that cast a shadow. The night after that, a snake – the skinny outline of her lamp’s electrical cord. My husband and I were both baffled. We’ve never had this problem with my daughter before. You always hear about children being afraid of undescript monsters in the closet or under the bed. But that would be too easy…My daughter thinks monsters are funny. Monsters can be explained away. “Oh, monsters are just pretend. They don’t exist.”

How do you explain away a wolf? Or a bird? Or a snake? They’re all real animals she reads about or sees everyday. It’s not like I can censor them from her life like I could monsters and horror movies. Once again, I’m stumped by a two year old.

DebD, MilitaryMomma

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