A couple weeks ago, Trooper was giving me grief about getting ready for nap when the phone rang. I answered and spoke to whoever it was for a moment, and then hung up.
"Who was it?" Trooper asked. "Who was it? Who was it?" He consistently asks me this question when I'm on the phone, and sometimes it drives me a little crazy.
"It was the boogey man," I replied. "He heard that you aren't listening, so he's going to come over and 'take care of you'."
"The boogey man? He's coming here?"
"Yeah, you just aren't listening to me, so he's coming."
"I don't want him to come here."
"Well, then you better get yourself together."
Now let me take a break to explain that we've never talked about the boogey man before. I'm really not sure what Trooper was visualizing, or what he thought it might mean for him.
So, a minute after I told Trooper about the boogey man, I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth waiting for him to get on the toilette. I noticed him coming into the room, but I was focused on looking at my teeth in the mirror and wasn't paying attention to what he was doing.
I looked over, and there was Trooper pulling the laundry basket in front of the bathroom door, which he had already locked. "What are you doing?" I asked, absolutely confused by his behavior.
"I'm keeping out the boogey man." He didn't seem scared. His tone was matter of fact, his expression unworried as he shoved the basket snuggly against the bottom of the door.
"Well, maybe you should just go potty and get in bed before he gets here. That would work better."
Minutes later Trooper was in bed and hooked up for sleep. I went into the living room, dialed my home phone from my cell phone, let it ring, and then hung up. Then I walked down the hall to his room with the home phone to my ear. "Yes, this is Becca," I said. "Yes. Yes, he's in bed now. Well, he's being pretty quiet." I covered the mouth piece and looked at Trooper, who was watching with intense attention. "Are you being quiet now?" I whispered. He nodded, so I returned my attention to the phone. "Yes, he's being quiet. No, I don't think you need to come. Thank you though. Maybe next time." I pushed the 'off' button on the already silent phone.
"Who was that?" Trooper asked, though I'm sure he already knew.
"The boogey man. He's not coming since you're already in bed."
Trooper smiled, and I could see that he was trying to decide if he thought this whole thing was for real or not. My feeling is, let him keep wondering. We joke like this all the time, so he certainly isn't just going to assume that the boogey man (and what is that, anyway?) is real. But as long as he thinks it's possible…
Just last week when Grandma was here, Trooper was in his bed for nap, but still not sleeping, and I went in to settle him down. "Why are you still awake?" I asked, knowing it was because he didn't want to miss out on the action.
"I had a bad dream," he said with a sad face.
"But you haven't gone to sleep yet, so you couldn't have had a bad dream."
Oops, got me! His face said. Out loud he said, "But I'm scared."
"Well, you don't have to be scared, because we're right out in the living room."
"But what about the boogey man?"
"If the boogey man comes to get you, I'll stop him."
"You'll stop him?"
"Yep, I'll stop him with my super-mommy powers."
The manufactured fear washed from his face, leaving nothing but incredulity. "Are you teasing me?"
Are you teasing me? Seriously? The boogey man is believable, Santa Claus is believable, my talking with the boogey man on the phone is believable, even my stopping the boogey man is believable. But super-mommy powers are going too far? How on earth does he think we're both still breathing at the end of the day if there aren't super-mommy powers? Kids these days, no concept of the difference between fiction and reality.