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When I was growing up the boogie man didn’t worry me but I did have an alligator under my bed. Hey don’t u look at me like that I did! My sister had a lion under hers’ so there, I’m not making it up!!

I would go to extreme measures to get from the door to my bed in the semi darkness, knowing if I got too close to the bed without landing on it, he would grab my foot and drag me under and who knows what would happen then. I didn’t actually think about what happened if he got me but I’m sure it would have been a horrible fate. Oooh and remember – never dangle your foot over the edge even when you were safely ensconced under the covers because if you did then under u were dragged and well.. something bad would happen to you.

I would tell my parents of this evil lurking under there but they always laughed me off or said there was nothing to worry about so eventually I stopped mentioning it, but I knew it was there, breathing in the darkness, moving the shadows around, hiding from them and just waiting for me to relax… TO POUNCE!

I am not sure when the alligator left the safety of under my bed – I never noticed its passing, just realised at some stage it was no longer there, but I know it lived down there a long long time. So when my own kids started having nightmares about that thing under their beds and things in the wardrobes or monsters that walked the room at night – between the shadows, I didn’t pass it off, remembering how real that fear was for me. I decided to believe them and take action instead of passively telling them there was nothing there when they knew darned well that there was.

We had a number of instances of monster infestations as my boys grew, I couldn’t believe how inventive they were so I will only share a couple that rather tickled my fancy and took a little imagination to get rid of.

First was: da daaa!

THE WOLF

The wolf lived in the closet and only showed himself as you were about to fall asleep… oh, and if mum wasn’t in the room. Go figure.

I would get into bed and then terrified screams would come from the room next door and I would have to go in and chase it away. I tried taking the dog in and letting him sniff around showing he didn’t chase anything therefore there was no wolf, but alas this logic was a total fail. I think my son thought the dog and wolf were friends or something because no sooner than my head hit the pillow than his screams would cut throughout the night again. Over time it went from now and then, to 5 plus times a night and frankly I was exhausted! One night in desperation I threw a heavy sock on the floor as I came in yet again to chase this tiresome wolf away and settle the jelly like child within, after settling him I turned out the light closed the door. BUT this time I cleverly waited outside for the next yell I could sense was coming.

Sure enough not long and the piercing screams lit up the night again and I charged in didn’t turn on the light in the room but let the hallway light softly filter in, making things in the room a little hard to see. I pounced on the sock I left the previous visit and waved it round my head “Got you” I yelled triumphantly – my cowering son who curled into a little ball against the wall as far away from the beast as he could get.

Leaning to counterbalance the terrific weight of this ‘beast’ showing the struggle I was having by holding it with the light behind me only half illuminating the battle. ‘I got u’ I was yelling ‘You stupid wolf’ bet you thought I was in the other room didn’t you? Oh I have sooo got you this time!’ On and on I berated this ‘sockwolf’ telling it how its goose was cooked – how sorry it was going to be now i had it in my hands.

Knowing my son needed more than a few words I held tight to the sock, and began to thrash it against any surface i could find making him feel the huge battle going on at the foot of his bed. I slammed it into the wall, on the bed, against the dresser over and over it made a delicious sounding ‘thwack’ each time it connected with another surface – my little treasure was backed up to the bedhead cowering against the wall, knees tucked under his chin, eyes wide as eyes can go, kinda giggling through his fear as his awesome and daring mummie took on this massive wolfbeast on his behalf. It was a stunning sight to behold I am sure.

 He could only see a dim shape from the hall light watching with building excitement as the sock was repeatedly smaked against everything imaginable as I gave it its pedigree for scaring little boys who were only trying to sleep – and yelling at it that it was time it got the heck out of his room.  I yelled to my son to open the window behind his bed and to get out of the way telling him I couldn’t hold it much longer because it was so scared it was trying very hard to get away.

He opened the window and as he scooted to the other end of his bed he ‘saw’ and felt something pass his face as the ‘sock’ wolf was flung out the window and into the night. He heard me yelling after it to never come back or it would get more of the same. “Come look”I urged my son – too dark to see much I pointed to the end of the driveway “look” I said “see him run down the drive  out onto the road”. I hung out the window and laughed yelling “scardy cat wolf”, pointing i pulled my son closer, “look  he has his tail between his legs he’s terrified of us, don’t think we will see him back here again aye heh”.

“Don’t come back”. I yelled after the wolf’s imaginary retreating form and just then – oh it was such perfect timing – somewhere in the night a dog howled miserably and I took that moment and slammed the window shut. Guess he won’t be back I said to my son – and we didn’t have any more instances of a wolf in the wardrobe. I was however up early the next morning to retrieve the sock from the rose bushes outside his window.Shh I wont tell if you don’t 😉

Then came…

THE TOE MONSTER

I mean a toe monster? Well that’s one for the books – I had never heard of a toe monster before. Where on earth do they come up with this stuff, ohhhh oh I see , Aunty “J” kindly informed you of its presence, hmm how lovely of her…

Apparently the Toe Monsters  lurked in the grass waiting to pounce and eat the toes of little boys that didn’t wear shoes (Thanks a million Aunty “J” for opening their eyes to that one… NOT)

I guess she thought she was being helpful – urging my little blossoms to wear shoes but wow did it have an effect. The 2 and a half year old was fearful at the start but we managed to convince him it was ok if you wore shoes, but the fear grew and became worse and worse until he was terrified of this thing – it had started slow and became more intense and irrational for him then became seriously intrusive into his daily life that eventually, unless I carried him he never and I mean NEVER went outside where they lurked.

For six months I stupidly carried him to the car and back – if I put him down he sprinted for the porch and threw himself on his back and pushed his feet as high up the door as he could to keep his little toes (safely ensconced in shoes I might add) away from this thing, a blithering heap of sobbing and shaking.

This went on for months and I wasn’t sure how to get it through to him there was no toe monster, that dear Aunty “J” was full of shit and if I coulda strangled her and gotten away with it I may well have considered it.

Eventually there was no way this dear wee boy would go outside – not on the paths – not in shoes – not in gumboots (gumboots were higher and the toe monsters woulda had trouble climbing up them… hey *shrug* you use what you have ok…) and almost to the point when I carried him he would put his feet over MY head.. this was ridiculous and I thrashed my brain for a solution. Telling him to stop it and walk bought on the most terrified look on my childs’ face – genuine heart chilling fear that broke my heart. Summer came and he still wouldn’t go out to play choosing instead to watch the others from the windows not seeming to connect they still had feet when they came inside. When this was pointed out – well he said it was HIS toes it wanted not his brothers, apparently they were tastier or something so he thought…just GREAT!

When the answer of how to deal with this finally came to me it was so so simple I didn’t know why it took me almost a year to think of it. We were in possession of a lawn mower! I took him aside one afternoon – I told him we were gunna get those old toe monsters and get rid of them forever. It was a really hot day but I dressed him in his combat undies and boots, tucking the legs of his trousers in tight, put a hat on his head, special toe monster spotting glasses and pulled his sweatshirt right up to his neck, “Now”, I told him, “ wait there till I come back and don’t open the door yet ok” He fearfully nodded, his eyes as big as saucers, but underneath that there was a little excitement so I hoped this was going to work.

I retrieved the lawnmower from the garage and rolled it up to the concrete path as close to the steps as I could get it and went back inside.

I told him we were gunna chop those ole toe monsters up with the mower – his eyes widened and he giggled happily. I told him you have to be real quiet and sneak up on them and mow them fast before they had a chance to run away and he allowed me to scoop him up and head for the door without screaming. I tiptoed dramatically to the door exaggerating how quiet we had to be (I mean what if my neighbours saw me being a total idiot they woulda had me committed heh), wincing heavily as I opened it, and over dramatically sucked my breath in as it squeaked. holding him firmly in front of me, between myself and the lawn mower handles I whispered to my little boy with the huge wide eyes to point to where they were hiding.

He thought a minute, eyes searching but nothing. It HAS to work , i started to panic a little then, I told him to wait a minute, adjusted his monster seeing glasses a little and asked if he could see them now. Finally he pointed and whispered there was a little group just THERE mummie there… I revved up the motor  of the mower telling him we had to wait a moment for them to settle again as the motor might have scared them a little, (daymn I am good huh hehe)  then I revved the motor up again and held him up high behind the handle and tore across the lawn with speed I didn’t know i was capable of – right to the spot he had pointed to, yelling gleefully “YAY  we got them as grass flicked up in our wake and settled behind us – we got them did you see that”!

He said “No mummie there is more”, and he pointed to another spot and for the next 30 or so minutes I ran fast with him and the mower and chopped wherever he said – obviously there were a lot as my lawn looked like a patchwork quilt when we had finished  but he finally agreed we had got them all.The precious little fella had his first day outside for a very long time,  we had killed his fear and got the lawn – well kinda – mowed heh. No more toe monster either so that was a win.

So having such a huge success with my own kids monsters, I urge you all to not discount your children’s fears – act on them, or, at least make them think you are and apart from having enormous fun vanquishing these childhood monsters, they see that you believe them which is half the battle and they see you acting on it on their behalf which for me, proved to be the other half of the battle.

Don’t forget to let me know how you vanquish your monsters!!

 

Note:Thanks to 4vector.com/ for the lovely free monster picture 😀