Friday, October 22, 2010

Bad Dreams

  Once my son bit someone at school, he was sent home and we soon found ourselves in a meeting with the school Principal about his behavior. Yesterday, he stuck his tongue out and blew raspberries at a fellow student. He gets two strikes each week and then he is placed in an after school program call Academy. As for his punishment at home he gets his TV and video game privileges taken away on just the first offense.
  I got home about 6:30 and dinner was already being served. For dinner we had; chicken with mash potatoes with gravy. I was about to go into the living room when I noticed my little man sitting at the table. We sometimes watch TV while we eat our dinner. Tonight, Darrel was not allowed do to the raspberries at school. I decided to sit with him and see what he had to say for himself.
  “I’m Sorry, Dad,” he started.
  “Why did you do it?” I asked.
  He looked down at his plate and then back up at me, “I don’t know.”
  We sat there eating our dinner together. Before long he looked back up and asked, “Do you have bad dreams?”
  “Sometimes,” I answered.
  “What are they about?” he asked, now meeting my gaze for the first time.
  I know my son, so I answered, “Zombies, my dreams are mostly about zombies.”
  His eyes lit up at my answered and he asked, “Me, too. Was I in your dream?”
  I quickly saw that this conversation was going somewhere I didn’t want it to go. I could just image that my wife would kick me out of bed because my son was screaming about zombies attacking him in his dream. So I answered. “Yes, you were a zombie.” Hoping if he was a zombie he would dream about being chased by said creatures.
  “I was.”
  “Yeah, I locked you up in your room so you wouldn’t hurt anyone,” I answered, I watched him eat for a little while. I could see that he was mulling over what I had said.
  “How did I become a zombie?” he asked.
  “It was just a dream, Darrel,” I answered, hoping to end this conversation.
  “But how?” he demanded to know.
  “I think you caught it at school.”
  “At school?” he said raising his voice high enough to catch the attention of his mother who was in other room.
  “Darrel eat dinner,” she called out.
  “Yes, Darrel eat your dinner,” reiterating what she had said.
  He picked up his fork and started back at his dinner. He waited a few minutes before asking, “Was mom a zombie, too?”
  “Yes, she was a zombie,” I answered; now pointing at his dinner plate.
  “How did mom become a zombie?” he asked.
  “Oh, no,” I answered rolling my eyes.
  “What?” he asked, rolling his eyes mockingly.
  “How do you even know what as zombie is?” I asked.
  “Call of Duty and Spongebob,” he laughed, “Now how did mommy become a zombie?”
  I felt a little trapped. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say. I really hadn’t dreamed about zombies and I was trying to figure out how to get out of this conversation. “I have no idea,” I answered.
  “Did I bite her?” he asked.
  “Yes, Darrel, She reached down to give you a hug and you bit her on the neck,” I said, giving up on the chance to have a normal conversation with my six year old son.
  “Oh, did I bite you?” he asked.
  “No Darrel, I locked you in your room and mommy in her room once she turned into a zombie, now eat your food,” I ordered, trying to pretend that I was playing the roll of the parent in this conversation.
  “Did you get away,” he asked, frankly.
  “When will this conversation end,” I thought. In fact it went on for a long time after that. He figured out that I escaped on an airplane, just after the army got involved and cleared the airfield by blowing up the buildings. In the end, I announced at the top of my lungs, “You’re a Zombie,” and ran from the room.
  “No, I’m not, it was just a dream,” he answered as I fled from the room.
There are times in a father’s life that he will look back and say that’s my boy; first soccer goal, first touchdown, first girlfriend, and first short story. I look at him and love him for his active imagination. Now if I can just get him to stop with the raspberries.

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