Wednesday, August 17, 2011

We'll Leave The Light On For You

Mitchell is in another funk. He is such a funny kid. He will go weeks without any sort of issue and I will be convinced that he has grown out of something and is becoming so much easier to understand, when BLAM! he wakes up one morning, changed yet again!

This time, he is fearful Mitchell. He's not afraid of the dark exactly, but has a thing for turning lights on everywhere he goes, at all times of the day and night. I will be the first one downstairs in the morning to sneak in a cup of coffee before my little monsters are up, only to be greeted by the entire ground floor ablaze with lights! Knowing that first, I would never have turned that many lights on and second, I always turn all the lights off when I go to bed, I know Mitchell snuck downstairs sometime in the night to illuminate the place.

Last night, I woke up to all the lights on upstairs! That one even woke Matt (and that's not an easy thing to do!) Matt got up around 3am grumbling about being blinded in his sleep, only to find Mitchell wandering the hallway, making sure all the lights were on!

Even during the daylight, he prefers the lights all on. We have many unused rooms in our house that I check multiple times a day and sure enough, lights are all on.

Strangely, this funk of his follows right on the heals of his last one: turning all the lights off! I kept getting left in darkness in the basement if I tried to play down there. The boys assured me "this is how we like to play down here!" I would be cooking dinner in the kitchen and Mitchell would walk in, turning all the lights off for me with no explanation as to why the dark is better for cooking in. All movies needed to be watched in as much darkness as possible.

I just can't keep up with this guy! Mitchell being who he is, it is difficult to get a real reason from him as to why he currently needs all the lights on, even in the middle of the night when his eyes should be closed anyways. He will mumble something about hearing a monster or how he thinks our house might have ghosts in it. As his thoughts on this monster and ghost are not very organized or well-described though, I suspect he is just repeating to me some idea Ben has inadvertently put in his head in his effort to sniff out the root of the problem.

Whatever his reasons, I feel I have been patient and understanding enough and it is time to get over this. I am tired of him being afraid for no reason. Fear of this sort is not something I coddle my boys for. I will not let him sleep in my bed all night and I will not let him leave all the lights on. I will need to find some way to keep him from wandering the house all night, scared and wasting electricity. My boy was not created to be fearful.

My plan is to cut out all his favorite books and movies. Both my boys love spooky things: monsters, ghosts, and all manner of make-believe scariness. I have always been OK with this sort of thing because we have always been diligent about talking about the make-believe nature of it all. I have no problem with my boys pretending skeletons can walk and talk, or pretending Gabe the green monster lives and drools under their bed, or pretending a ghost lives on the third floor. That's just good fun!

Perhaps I have over-estimated Mitchell's ability to draw a solid line between make-believe and reality though. We will not be reading any of his favorite silly monster books for a while or watching any of his top faves as far as movies and shows go. We are back to PBS cartoons: Clifford, Dinosaur Train, Super Why... good shows (in my opinion) but certainly not the level of entertainment then have grown accustomed to.

Let's see if we can just "forget" about monsters for a while and see if that doesn't keep the lights off at 3am...

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