After 3 years of putting him to sleep in a black-dark room, fretting over the blackout blinds and not letting him watch anything scary, it turns out that our son is, despite it all, afraid of the dark.
A few months ago he started asking for his bedroom door to be left open at night, followed scant days later by requests for the lights to be left on 'just a little bit'. Now, the lights in his room need to be blazing and pretty much all the doors in the house have to be ajar before he'll fall asleep.
It's all been a mystery until a few days ago when the Frog ran himself a bath while I was saying goodnight to the Spud. His bed is against the wall next to the tub and as the water started to pour, he clung onto me and said 'What's that, Mummy? What's that noise?!'. 'What noise?' I said, 'the taps?'. 'No!' he said 'THAT noise!'. 'What does it sound like?' I asked him and in reply, he opened his mouth and breathed a big monstery breath - a deep sighing sort of inhalation followed by a low moany exhalation.
'It's the taps' I said 'No it's NOT the taps, it's a monster!!!' he cried. I called the Frog and there began a great song and dance involving the taps being turned on and off and water running and him being shown the whole process and listening and all of us laughing. I laid him back down. 'See? There's no monster in the wall. It's just the taps, silly!'.
'There's a monster in the taps' he replied. The frog, having just seen our water bill, solemnly concurred.
Today on the way home from nursery he stopped on our salted front steps. 'What's that noise, Mummy?' he said. 'What does it sound like?' I said. 'Like "crunch crunch"' he said. 'It's my boots' I said. 'No' he said 'it's a monster!' and he high-tailed it through the front door.
I shouldn't laugh, it's not funny to him and when I hear him making little 'aaahh' sounds as he slams his door behind him and races through the flat into our bed at 3am I know that he's just shut a terrifying beastie in his room; in fact I think I can even remember the rush of adrenaline as I did the same thing myself at his age; and just imagine lying in your bed at night truly believing there is something breathing in the wall next to you.
It's not funny. It's not.