Sunday, July 31, 2005

Crocodile Tears

So, this morning after breakfast, I was feeding my 2-month-old while the wife as work while my other two kids played in floor on the living room in front of me. I was channel surfing and caught the tail end of the movie “Romancing The Stone” where the general had caught up with Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas at the edge of a river crawling with crocodiles. I kind of forgot my kids were in the room until the general caught the jewel and had his hand bitten off immediately afterward by one of the behemoth reptiles. My daughter then got a little scared so I turned the channel to something else. A couple of hours later, my kids were outside playing in the sprinkler when my three-year-old son came tearing into the house, absolutely hysterical. He was crying harder than I have ever heard him cry before, screaming for me and shaking uncontrollably. I panicked myself, thinking that he had broken an arm or something and picked him up to try and figure out where he was hurt. No matter how hard I looked, I could not see anything and no matter what I did, I could not get him calmed down long enough to tell me what was wrong. Finally, after at least fifteen minutes, I finally understood him enough to figure out that he thought there were some alligators after him.

His hysterics still went on for at least fifteen more minutes as I tried unsuccessfully to convince him that there were no alligators in Michigan. My daughter, ever so helpful, kept telling me that I was wrong and that there were lots of alligators in Michigan, stressing that we had just seen them at the zoo a couple of weeks ago. Finally, I told my son that all the alligators in Michigan were in cages and could not hurt him. I said that the only place in the US where alligators roamed free were in Florida.

Upon hearing this, my daughter’s eyes welled up with tears and upon reaching a horrible conclusion, whimpered, “In Disneyworld, Daddy?”

Now, I hate Disneyworld with a mad passion so I had great difficulty repressing the urge to say, “Disneyworld is just lousy with those savage beasts. It’s a miracle we got out of there alive!” Still, for her sake, I convinced her that there were plenty of people working around the clock to keep the ‘gators out of the “It’s a Small World” ride (though in my opinion, a couple of crocs plucking unsuspecting tourists out of the boats at that particular exhibit could not help but liven it up a little bit).

After about forty-five minutes of a level of hysterics I have not seen since the group I hung around with in high school discovered the joys of hallucinogens, I finally got my son calmed down enough to watch TV. My daughter then went into the kitchen, cut out a triangle of pink construction paper, then walked back into the living room and said, “Look Mason! I found an alligator tooth!” My son’s hysterics started all over again, while I sent his sister to her room (had she pulled something like that on someone other than one of my own kids though, I probably would have given her a high-five though).

I now have him sitting on the couch watching Bob the Builder. It’s been a couple of hours now and he still won’t let his feet touch the floor, and I’m starting to wonder if he’s been huffing anti-freeze in the garage or if the LSD I tried in my youth found a way to induce flashbacks in my kids through my genes.

So now I’m wondering:

1) Is this normal behavior?

2) How do I correct it?


3) Can I exploit this situation to keep my son in bed at night without doing permanent and irreversible harm to his psychological well being?


Blogger JEP said...


8:34 AM  

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