After books and bed. After lights out…


Hank:  (shouted from bedroom) Mama!

Me: Diga? (Tell me.)

Hank:  Mama.  I need you

Me: (sliding under his covers) What’s up little man.

Hank:  Mommy, I’m scared.

Me: Why?

Hank:  I keep thinking of dinosaurs and in the dark that is scary.  Were they monsters?

Me: No.  Monsters are imagined.  Monsters are the scary things you invent.  Dinosaurs were real.  They were giant lizards, but you don’t have to be scared of them.  They died millions of years ago, before people evolved.

Hank: (snuggling closer)

Me:  See long, long, long ago dinosaurs covered the earth.  And one day a great big huge, huge, huge rock fell out of the sky and slammed into the earth, changing the weather and sadly the dinosaurs died because of it, but that big rock shook the earth and mixed the mud and the climate and from that people began to evolve and we grew and changed until we are who we are today:  the keepers of stories.  And long ago we found the great bones of dinosaurs and we started to unravel the mystery of their story and ours.  And there are still some animals that survived from the dinosaurs: turtles, and crocodiles and dragonflies and creatures in the bottom of the sea.

Hank:  I am still a little scared in my heart.  Not of dinosaurs but just scared and nervous.

Me: Oh well that is natural. But there is a cure.

Hank: What is it?

Me:  Close your eyes and tell yourself a happy silly story, out loud, if you have to, until you fall asleep.  Can you do that?  Close your eyes…  What do you see?

Hank: I see a puzzle and it is moving.  The pieces move and kids are standing on the pieces like a train.  And they are laughing and getting dizzy while the pieces move on the floor…

Me: (leaving the room) I’m listening.

Hank:  And the puzzle makes and it is a train and the kids jump in their seats and wait for the ticket man, but they don’t have tickets!  So I get out my crayons and another girl has paper and we start fast, FAST, making tickets as the man comes into the train…


Teenager Time

Hank:  Mama, what is a teenager?

Me: Um rapaz (a teenager).  Your prima (cousin) Daniela, she is a rapariga, a teenager.

Hank: Oh. (pause) And what do teenagers do?

Me:  Mostly study and spend time with their friends.

Hank:  What kind of study?

Me:  At school. They study Science, Math, History, Literature, Portuguese, English, French, possibly German, Art and Music.  A ton of reading.  Lots of books.

Hank: Oh!  I love books.

Me:  I am so excited.  When you are a teenager you are going to come home and say to me, “Mama, I have just read the most amazing book!  You have to read it.”  And I will.

Hank: And I will get this book at school.

Me:  Sure!  At school and from your friends. Friends are very important to teenagers.

Hank:  When does this happen?

Me: When does what happen?

Hank: Teenager time.

Me: About ten years from today.

Hank: Is that longer then my birthday.

Me:  It will take ten birthdays.

Hank:  (leaving the room) I’m gonna go write this down.




Hank: (spontaneously skipping)

Me: (happily joining in)

Hank:  Mama!  You cannot do that.

Me:  What?! I love to skip!

Hank:  When adultos (adults)… How do you call it in English?

Me:  Skip?

Hank:  When adultos (adults) skip they are very fragile and can fall and hurt their heads.

Me: Are you sure?

Hank:  Well… (giggling) no.  Ok mama, you can skip too.

Me: (already skipping away)

Hank:  Hey,  espera (wait)!