Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tangled up in Monsters

"There's a scary monster under the bed, mummy," my Sprocket informs me. We lie in the dark, waiting for sleep.
"Sweetheart, I promise you, there's no monster under the bed."
"Yes there is!" he protests indignantly.
"No, darling. There is not. Monsters are just a story. They're not real. There's no such thing as monsters."
"O-kay," he says, in the tone of one humouring the mad mummy.
"Pink monsters with sparkles aren't scary," my Poppet pipes up. "Pink monsters are friendly. They love me."
"If there were pink monsters I am sure they would be friendly. And they would love you, but there's no such thing as monsters."
It has become a matter of urgency that we get rid of all suggestion of the reality of monsters. At present every mishap and every naughtiness in the house is being blamed on - you guessed it, the monsters. We even had to stop the car on the way down from Queensland to tell the monster (who bit Poppet's hand) to get out of the car.
"The monsters have all gone away?" Sprocket asks.
"No, hon. There were never any monsters. They're just a story - like---"
And here I pause. I can't say they're just a story like Father Christmas and the Easter Bunny and fairies,  because of course they believe Father Christmas and the Easter Bunny and fairies are real.
"They're pretend. Someone just made them up," I try, yet again.
Why didn't I just tell them there was no such thing as monsters the first time they brought it up. And the second. And the third. And the fourth.
I weakened. I went with the story. I tried ordering the monsters to go away. I tried telling the kids the monsters were scared of mummy and daddy. I tried telling the kids that monsters could be friendly. I  tried saying my Sprocket was responsible for the monsters being naughty and if he didn't control the monsters he'd get quite time.
Why didn't I have a firm monster policy already in place for the first time the kids brought up monsters under the bed? Or outside the window.
Because now, much as I try to tell them that there's no such thing as monster, my Poppet's voice pipes up happily: "I saw a monster last night."
Sigh. Why didn't I have a consistent monster policy in place, all thought out and ready to roll?
Because now I'm all tangled up in monsters, and I'm not entirely sure I know how to escape.

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