Right around her fourth birthday, my little girl started having "daydreams." But not the "Oh, I wish I could live in The Plaza Hotel, too!" kind of daydreams. The kind of daydreams that made her quiet in the backseat for fifteen minutes, on average, and then had her pipe up with this:
"Mommy, I was just thinking about a bad person coming to our house and killing all of us. He was big, and kind of green, and bleeding from his head. He smelled bad."
Of course I started asking her what she was learning in pre-school, followed quickly by, "Did you hear us watching The Wire last night?" But once an outside influence was investigated and dismissed, I had to admit that I knew exactly where all of this morbidity came from. It was totally me.
My earliest dream I can remember, involved animals living underground who were hellbent on kidnapping me and making me serve them in their lair beneath my house. The whole time I was being held captive RIGHT UNDER OUR HOUSE, and my mother never knew. I was about four.
Grade school came along, as did my love of Stephen King novels. Yes, I realize that is messed up. I watched A Nightmare on Elm Street at waaay to young of an age, and have vivid memories of the massage table scene from The Godfather (or was it The Godfather II?), because I stumbled upon HBO while I was still in the fourth grade. I loved it.
My adoration for scary movies, books, and campfire stories never waned until I became pregnant with my daughter. I used to think that I was just too aware of how devastating an actual death would be, when faced with the most precious life of all. But now I realize she sucked it out of me in the womb.
So now when she wants to talk about her most recent "dream," I let her imagination run wild and nod in understanding. I reassure her that she's always safe (but this is so totally understood, and so totally NOT the issue), and let her get it out of her system. She's not scared, just fascinated. And I totally get it. After all, that was me at her age -- the creepy kindergartner who couldn't get enough of The Twilight Zone. Sigh.
Let's just hope she doesn't develop my love of beer bongs in college.
Do you have a morbid toddler?
Image via vdrgdansschool/Flickr