30 April 2010

Nightmare, imagination, and my son

No, this is not a review of the newly remade "Nightmare on Elm Street." It's something else altogether.

A couple of nights ago, my son woke up from a nightmare that left him shaking with fear, demanding that all lights should be left on. He wouldn't tell me the details of the nightmare, but he blamed it on his imagination.

That statement made me pause; I had to be careful how I would tackle this issue. My 7 years old son was about to hate being imaginative? And then what, he'd grow up to be a stiff uninspired person? God forbid!!!

I had a small talk with him and pointed out that Iron Man, Spider Man, Star Wars, all his PSP games, were products of someone's imagination. The same was applicable to any number of horror movies and books I wouldn't allow him, yet, to watch or read. Yes, this time his imagination had triggered something bad in his mind, but other times it gave him pleasant dreams of winning or acquiring something he craved.

Over the following days, I called his attention to anything he liked as the product of imagination. Ice cream, belt, TV…etc, were all things that someone dreamt of or saw an opportunity to create something wonderful, and seized it.

This morning, I was writing one of my paranormal romance stories, and he walked in on me with my head in my hands, sighing. This is how the conversation went.

Son: What's wrong, Mama?
Me: Ah, I'm stuck.
After a pause, Son: You mean your imagination is gone?
I smiled and shook my head.
Son: Do you need to create a scary monster?
I didn't, not for that book, but I nodded. I wasn't sure I wouldn't crack up smiling broadly in his face if I opened my mouth.
Son: I'll give you one. He can be as big as a building. Mama, write it down, or you'll forget.
I grabbed my notebook and started taking notes.
After a roll of the eyes, Son: He has one thousand legs. No. Make that one thousand six hundred infinity legs. Yeah, and no eyes."
I pursed my lips, wondering…
Me: Is this from one of your nightmares?
Son: No, this is fresh for you from my imagination.
Me (smiling again): Okay, what does he do usually?
Son, frowning: What do you mean?
Me: The monster. He has to do something bad to be called a monster.
Son: He is the worst, Mama. He is too ugly to look at.

I heart my son.