One of the things I love most about being a parent is that it really challenges your idea of what is “normal”. There are times when the things that come out of my mouth just really cause me to sit back, shake my head, and marvel.
All three of the kids have had their moments, but Youngest wins the prize for requiring the most unusual parental responses so far. A few of my favorites from over the years:
~Please stop licking my leg, you are not actually a dog.
~Beetles do not belong in your mouth.
~No, chimpanzees can’t swim across the ocean. And even if one did, it’s not likely it would break into the house to pull your arms off.
As the chimpanzee comment suggests, many of Youngest’s greatest moments have involved her creative imagination running away with her. She has struggled with night-time fears, anxieties, and bad dreams that when re-told will often keep me up at night. Her description of a nightmare in which the characters from Little House on the Prairie died and came back as zombies still gives me the willies….”Oh, Mommy…zombie Pa was so scary!
The latest issue arose when she was positive that she had shut the closet door and turned off the closet light, and then turned around to find the door open and the light on. What could have happened? The conversation went something like this:
Youngest: “I think it might have been a ghost. But then again, that doesn’t really make sense…ghosts can walk through walls, right?”
Me: “Well, actually, there is no such thing as a ghost. You know that, right?”
Youngest: “Well, yeah. But if there was such a thing as a ghost, it would walk through walls. And if it walks through walls, it can’t actually turn on the light or shut the door. And it couldn’t even actually touch you, either! So it couldn’t, like, strangle you anything. So I don’t think it was a ghost! And I’m not going to be afraid of them, since they couldn’t hurt you.”
Me: “Because they don’t exist! You don’t need to be afraid of them because they are not real.”
Youngest: “And they couldn’t touch you if they were real. But a zombie could!”
Me: “But zombies are also not real, remember we talked about this? They are stories made up in movies to scare you but they are not real.”
Youngest: “Yeah, they’re not real. And besides, it couldn’t have been a zombie that did it. If a zombie actually was in my room, then you would know by now. Because it wouldn’t have waited this long, it would have eaten my brain a long time ago.”
The door-and-light issue kept her up for the better part of a week, before she settled back down and was able to sleep well again. I was about halfway through a sigh of relief when a new issue cropped up from an unexpected source: A science lesson on molecules.
Youngest: “Atoms are smaller than molecules, right?”
Me: “Yep. Molecules are made up of atoms, remember?”
Youngest: “Yeah.” [a period of silence, during which her brow becomes increasingly furrowed and a worried look starts to settle on her face]
Me: “You OK, sweetie? What’s on your mind?”
Youngest: “How hard is it to, you know, snap an atom?”
Youngest: “To snap an atom. Can you break one yourself? Like, by accident? I’ve just been really, really worried lately about accidentally breaking an atom and causing a huge explosion. Could you do it by accident? Like step on one or something?”
Me: “This explains why you’ve been wanting to wear your slippers everywhere we go, doesn’t it?”
I expected monsters under the bed. I even expected something scary in the closet. But who could have been prepared for a childhood fear of spontaneous nuclear fission?
I’m still not sure what “normal” is, but I am pretty sure it doesn’t live at my house. That’s fine. I sure do enjoy my kids and their funny way of seeing things, and I am sure that one day Youngest will laugh right along with me about the days of transoceanic chimpanzees, zombie Pa, and snapping atoms.
At which point she will give up wearing those fuzzy slippers everywhere. Right?!?
Sometimes, it’s the times when you least feel like laughing that doing so is most important.
It’s been a rough year, really. I have seen a lot of heartbreak and struggle and been through some dark days, and though much growth and learning has come from this a person does get…weary.
In a rare quiet moment, I ran across an article on TheHighCalling.org about laughter, and I realized that I need to remember to really revel in the funny things that life brings, take time to enjoy and appreciate them and share them with others. Deidra over at Jumping in Tandem is offering up a place to share some laughter, I thought it would be….therapeutic….to join in!