You have nothing to fear but the scary men at Grandma’s house

Today Leo had what we call a Grandma’s Day. He skipped preschool and spent the day with my mother, running errands, playing games, and celebrating at a summer reading party at Aunt Treasa’s library.
His little brother happily went to preschool as usual.
When I went to pick up Daniel, however, one of the teachers discretely pulled me aside.
“I asked him whether he ever spends the day with Grandma,” she said, speaking quietly. I could see she was headed somewhere with this. “And he told me that he can’t because of ‘the two scary men.’”
Ah, yes. The scary men.
Where could I begin?
Well, I started by laughing too hard to speak. Then I took a breath and admitted it was true.
“Every time he asks about having a Grandma’s Day, I tell him he can spend the day with Grandma when he can take a nap there,” I said. “He always shakes his head and says he is too scared of the two scary men.”
Daniel gets plenty of time at Grandma’s house. But if our adorable 3-year-old whirlwind is going to spend a whole day with Grandma, he really has to take a nap. And he refuses to sleep in the bedroom her grandchildren use for napping. It’s close to the first floor if they need her.
The teacher was still looking at me blankly, and it occurred to me that I hadn’t explained who the men are. In fact, I realized, she might be ready to call Social Services.
Oh, dear.
So I fell all over myself explaining that the scary men are Homer and Aristotle—and they are not alive. They’re busts or plaster heads or statues or whatever you’d call them.

They do actually look a bit scary in this photo.

Even when I remove the “men” from the room, Daniel won’t sleep there because there are Pez dispensers lining the walls. He doesn’t like them either.
The teacher laughed, but then she said, “Um…but you are going to be living there before you buy a new house, right?”
Fortunately, I explained, when we move into my parents’ house, our boys will be sleeping in a different room that wouldn’t work for daily naps.
So Daniel should be fine—well, as long as the porcelain pigs in that room don’t keep him up at night. I’l let you know how it goes.
What unusual fears does or did your child have? Were you able to help your child overcome them?

Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.