Monday, February 23, 2015

Tiny Monsters

What do you see in this picture? Beauty or terror?

For my three-year-old, walking through a butterfly rainforest was terrifying. Anything that moved scared her. Instead of being awed by the colors, she screamed at every butterfly she saw, certain that it was going to hurt her. No amount of reasoning or soothing could convince her otherwise. She finished our brief time in the exhibit in Daddy's arms, squeezing her eyes closed and hiding her face in his shoulder. Which was probably good because we passed a small dog on the lap of an old man in a motorized wheelchair at the end. And we all know how terrifying lap dogs are.

Wait, you didn't know that? In her world, they are. She ran away from a stone turtle on someone's lawn till she realized it was "just pretend." The huge T-Rex skeleton? Cool. Butterflies? Terrifying. She's also very afraid of monsters and wakes up screaming some nights because of monsters (aka shadows on the wall). I've tried telling her that there are no such thing as monsters.

Then one morning she told me that the night before she found tiny monsters on her pillow--so she smashed them! It's made me think. Should I stop trying to convince her that monsters aren't real? Because to her they absolutely are. That strange shadow on the wall at night is without a doubt a monster. And in a different guise, there are monsters that she will face in the world. Maybe it would work better to help her believe that she can beat the monsters in her life. If you see a monster, you face it, you smash it, because you are brave and you are stronger than the monsters you will face, both real and imagined.

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