Tornado E and the Whale

Once upon a time there was my Mommy!  And she was swimming!  And she was eaten by a big blue whale!  Chomp!


Awesome.  As I assured Tornado E that I’m not going swimming and that I won’t be eaten by a blue whale and that in fact blue whales can’t eat anyone because they have teeth like a brush, not teeth like Tornado E, I secretly cursed my best friend and my husband  for making this mess I saw coming.  My best friend had rented Nim’s Island because they were out of stock on Kung Fu Panda.  She assured me that Tornado E would LOVE the movie because of all the animals.  But as the opening credits finished, I became unassured as the puppet mom was eaten by a blue whale.


Are you kidding me?  A blue whale?  They are baleen whales.  They can’t even open their mouths for fish much less a person and perhaps a boat.  I love blue whales!  Go pick on something scary like a sperm whale or an orca.  But I digress because my first instinct was to reassure Tornado E.


Me: Don’t worry, Tornado E.  Blue whales don’t eat people.


My husband: Yeah, they just swallow them.


My BFF: Faemom.  It’s just a story.


Tornado E: Whales swallow them.


Me: (shooting dirty shut-the-f-up looks at the adults) No, Tornado E, blue whales don’t swallow people.


My husband: Sure, they do.


My BFF: (ever the biblical scholar) What about Jonah and the Whale? 


Me: That was a sperm whale, not a blue whale.  (Wait, that wasn’t reassuring.)  It’s just pretend, Tornado E.


My BFF: What’s the difference?  He’s got to learn about Jonah and the Whale sometime.


Me: First off, there is a LOT of difference between a sperm whale and a blue whale, starting with the fact that a blue whale can’t open its mouth. And-


Tornado E: Whales swallow people.


Me: Second, where was Jonah when he got swallowed by a whale?  There are no big whales in the Mediterranean, which was as close to the oceans the Israelites got because they were desert folk.  No, Tornado E, whales don’t swallow people.  Look at the lizard!


My BFF: Don’t you have any faith?


My husband: What about a-


Me: No!  No, whales do NOT eat people.  Yes, I have faith.  And I went to the same bible classes that you did.  It’s a story!


My BFF: It is, and you’re ruining it.  Shh.




And then it got worse, when we decided to watch the deleted scenes, and they showed the scene when Alex Rover almost gets eaten by the imaginary whale as Nim tries to save her.  Awesome.


It’s just pretend, Tornado E.  Blue whales don’t eat people.  They can’t. 


So when I was about to kiss Tornado E goodnight, he told me the story of how I was eaten by the blue whale.  I explained yet again that blue whales don’t eat people and that we’ll get a book at the library.  Remember, Finding Nemo and the whale with the brush teeth? 


Of course, Tornado E woke countless times during the night in fear, until I finally let him sleep with us to prove his mommy was not going to be eaten by a whale.


This saddens me because as a kid I loved ocean animals.  The first book I read all by myself was The Hungry, Hungry Shark.  My brothers and I would use my canopy bed to explore the oceans, diving with sharks and dolphins.  I did countless reports on whales and dolphins.  For a good portion of my childhood, I dreamt of being a marine biologist, spending my thirteenth birthday watching the dolphins at Sea World.  Now my little boy is afraid of the sweetest, gentlest of whales, my favorite whale that I had hopes of one day seeing and perhaps swimming with.  I mean it’s a blue whale, not an orca, which are way scarier.  Anyone see Orca?  Ok, bad example, that one was actually funnier than Jaws.


My hope is to teach Tornado E more about whales and explain to my husband and my best friend why we don’t teach three-year-olds that whales swallow people.

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Solutions to Spiders

Last night Evan went to bed with his newly made spider keeping watch along with his gargoyle on top of his bookcase next to his bed.  My husband decided he would lie next to Evan until Evan fell asleep. 


So after I turned off the lights and took Sean to bed, my husband and Evan began a long discussion of whether there were spiders or not.  My husband turned the conversation to the spider Evan made and how it kept all other spiders away.  So Evan climber out of bed, petted the spider, and laid it down to go to sleep.  Then Evan climbed back into bed and asked his father to sing him the Tiki Room song, which my husband didn’t know.  After contemplating this new development, Evan asked for a song about a Tiki, a pineapple, a princess, and a unicorn.  (I plan to write down the song my husband came up with.)  Then Evan pointed to one of his red Chinese paper lanterns and said that it was Mars.  The conversation went on.


After an hour, Evan was finally asleep, and my husband was free from his obligation.  He decided to go to bed too.  Now I wonder what kind of consequence this solution has. . . .

Spiders, Spiders Everywhere

Two nights ago I had a series of firsts.  Evan told me what his nightmare was about.  Not only was he able to tell me; he didn’t cry, which was another first  He also forced me to search his bed for spiders, and yet this is another first.  I assumed it would be easy to prove there were no spiders because this wasn’t a monster in the closet or under the bed that could just disappear with the flick of a light switch, promising to be back as soon as it was dark and no parents were around.  No, these were spiders.  Frightening in their own way, but they would still be there, light or no.

When I was a kid, I had two similar nightmares, where I went to my mom and woke her up to ask her to search my bed.  The first night I dreamt that a huge snake was curled up next to me and that I watched it slither down the space between my bed and wall.  My mom turned on the light, moved the bed, and showed me there were no snakes at all.  The next night I dreamt that I was covered with ants.  Again my mom came to my room, turned on my light, and diligently looked for any sign of ants.  She’s a great mom.  The reason she humored me was she remembered listening to a radio personality who told a story of his son having the same nightmare of ants as I did, only the radio guy didn’t check assuming it was a dream.  It turned out the bed was crawling with ants.  Because I grew up in Arizona, it was quite possible that a snake could have got in somehow (ask my brother).  Since I was older than Evan, when I saw the evidence that there were no snakes or ants, I went back to sleep.

Not so for my little guy.  He’s three, and he swears there are spiders in his bed.  The first time he told me, I got up and smoothed his sheets, showing him spider-free sheets.  I explained that there were no spiders in his bed, it was a dream.  The next time I turned on the lights and showed him that underneath and on top of the sheet that there were no spiders.  Did I mention it was now 3:30 in the morning?  The third time, ten minutes after I left his room, I shook out the comforter, and the forth time we looked under the bed.  The fifth time I again showed him the empty sheets.  Each time I calmly explained that there were no spiders and that it was all a dream.  It was all in his head.  Finally the sixth time, now just after 4, I asked if he would rather sleep on the floor.  He preferred my bed.  The thought of telling him there was a spider in our bed occurred to me, but I just wasn’t ready to have a mental crack.  So I said no and tried to usher him back to bed.  He decided that he would prefer to sleep on the floor, so I laid his comforter down with his pillow.  He snuggled up, and I covered him with the remaining half of the comforter.  He came back ten minutes later, and I told him go back to bed before I feed you to the spiders. 

The next morning Evan conducted his own search of spiders, and he found there were none.  But he’s terrified they will be back.  And I wonder how I can convince him.

When I was a freshman in high school, I realized our house had an unusual amount of spiders.  Probably because our old house had very few, and this new house was closer to a desert area than the old house, landlocked by several miles of neighborhoods.  One night I was just about to fall asleep, I heard a rustling under my bed.  I’ll admit at this moment I clutched my teddy bear and thought how I KNEW there were monsters under my bed.  I absolutely KNEW it!  Damn, why did I ever believe grown ups?  Now I was going to die (yes, I clearly had an over-active imagination; still do).  I peaked out one eye to watch something scurry out from under the bed.  In the pale light and my sleepy eyes, this was worse than any boogie man.  This was a scorpion.  I launched myself out of the bed and dashed to my parents’ room, where I breathlessly told my mom what was in the middle of the floor.  Because my dad was out on a call and my mom is a brave woman, she grabbed a tennis shoe and walked back to my room, flicking on the overhead light.  To reveal . . . a wolf spider.  Nothing dangerous, just scary.  My mom killed it any ways, and I asked to sleep in my mom’s bed.  She rolled her eyes and told me to go back to bed because it was a school night.  Thanks.  So then I made a promise to myself to always keep my papers under my bed to warn me (granted I picked this up years before to keep the monster from getting me).  I also decided I needed something else. 

Harry, my new pet plastic spider.  He sat just inside my doorway, keeping vigil over my room, so that I could sleep.  I loved Harry.  Not only was I convinced he kept away spiders, he would scare people who would rush into my room and see a spider out of the corner of their eye.  I moved him around every once in a while just to keep my family on guard.  I had faith Harry would keep the spiders at bay, so now I wonder if that will work for Evan.

Today we are in the midst of making our own spiders.  I have several different activities that make spiders, and I am finding more.  I’ve recorded several “Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends” because Evan last night would not go to sleep in his bed.  My husband found Evan, sitting on his pillow, staring at the foot of his bed.  Evan begged his dad to allow him to “camp out.”  My husband didn’t understand what this meant because he had slept through the nightmares the previous night.  I explained and gave my consent.  But can I allow my son to keep sleeping on the floor?  So any advice on nightmares out there?