Bananas and Boneheads

A few weeks ago I made the hour drive to Provo with my three little kiddies in tow. I handed each of them a banana and in my small-minded way I thought I was just giving them a snack. As it turned out, those bananas became everything from a princess to a really bad guy in the 45 minutes that followed. It made me happy that in this modern, fast-paced, artificial world we live in my kids still had some good old-fashioned imagination.
Imagination is a good thing, right? Well, fast forward a few days. My girls and a neighbor girl are sitting at the table working their artistic charms on everything they can get their hands on. They hear a noise, specifically a footstep, neighbor girl investigates and reports that she saw a bone-headed creature in the bathroom mirror. All three girls run to me and explain their indisputable evidence. I smiled and told them I was sure there was a reasonable and harmless explanation for everything they heard and saw and suggested they go outside and play. Outside they are joined by neighbor girl's brothers and are all too eager to tell their story to them. The brothers are determined to utilize their manly protective genes and tell the three damsels they will check it out. Upon their return they told of the bonehead's bony arm grabbing one of their arms and how they fled for their lives. I overheard that last of the report and quickly went out to attempt damage control. The minute I walked out, I knew I was doomed. My two girls looked at me with eyes as big as quarters and so full of fear I admired their fortitude at not bursting into tears on the spot.
I started telling them all about how it was fun to pretend sometimes, but scaring each other wasn't nice and could have some lasting effects. Neighbor kids were deeply offended and swore up and down they were NOT lying. I assured them I wasn't accusing them of lies, but that perhaps imaginations had run a little wild and played some mischief on their minds. They reaffirmed the accuracy of what they heard and saw and happily went home to their boneheadless house.
I worked all night talking my girls out of their terror and when they went to sleep with very little drama, I thought perhaps we had managed to side-step the trauma. At three o'clock that morning my naive optimism was checked by the reality of two terrified children. After working with them for an hour -- singing songs, explaining every noise and silently cursing three otherwise very cute little neighbor children -- the poor princesses finally went back to sleep.
It has been about two weeks since the sighting of bonehead. My youngest girl still won't venture into another room of our house unaccompanied (fortunately, her 2 year old brother is more than willing to follow her -- happily oblivious to what may be lurking around the corner or under the bed or in the bathroom mirror). Rationally everyone accepts that he does not exist, but imaginations are powerful and what did they hear and see that day?


Blogger The Wiz said...

It reminds me of "Anne of Green Gables" when she scares herself into believing the wood is haunted, and even invents the ghost that haunts it.

You might have to invest in some kind of "monster-away" spray, (I know there are several out there, or you can invent your own). Or tell your kids that boneheads are allergic to Windex, (it's like Kryptonite to them! They hate it!)and any time they think he's coming, just wash the mirrors and windows first. Great way to get them to do chores as well as soothe their fears.

8/26/2005 08:00:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Poor kids! They'll be haunted by bonehead for a while, I bet.

Jacob has some fears of monsters, and somehow Daddy is the only one who can scare them off. And somehow he does a terrific job of it. Maybe your kids can have a special Bonehead slayer who is the only one who can really do the job. It's a great way to get Daddy involved in the whole process.

8/27/2005 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger Mrs. M said...

We haven't quite reached the stage of scary monsters (oldest is 2), but he did go through quite a period of time when he was terrified of smoke detectors (???!!!). He wouldn't walk under them or stay in a room alone with one, which made bedtime difficult. He eventually got over it, but I'm not sure it was because of anything we did or said. I'm going to try to remember the Wiz's comment about Windex allergies and try to use that when the situation arises.

8/27/2005 12:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Susan M said...

My youngest kid has the biggest, wildest imagination I've ever encountered. When he was a toddler, he was afraid of socks. Socks! We let him roam around in sandals all the time because of it. Once when he was about 3 I took him to Walmart, determined to get him into some socks. As soon as I turned the cart in the direction of the boy's socks area, he was onto me.

"Where are we going? Why are we going this way?"

Thinking quickly, I replied, "Uh...we're going to get some robot feet!"

I almost had him convinced that grey socks were robot feet. "If I wear robot feet, will I become a robot?" He *so* wanted to believe that. (He once spent three days walking around with stiff arms and legs, saying, "I...AM...A...RO...BOT.") But by the time we were in the check out line he was back to knowing they were just socks.

After he lost his phobia of socks, he became afraid of stairs.

When I was a kid, I saw a man come out of the woods across the street from our school with a rifle and walk into the woods on the school grounds with it. My friend and I were terrified and went back to tell the crossing guard. She must not have believed us, she just had us sit with her for a few minutes and then sent us home.

8/30/2005 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Andrea Wright said...

Wiz, thanks for the tip -- we'll have to try the spray. Heather, that's cute about Jacob and his Daddy, my hubby definintely has more pull in some of those instances too.

Erin and Susan, I'm sure your kids' fears were sad and inconvenient, but they both get big points for originality :) It cracks me up what we try and say and do to talk our kids into things.

Thanks for all your comments!

8/30/2005 01:37:00 PM  
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10/08/2005 12:25:00 PM  

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