A few weeks ago, my 5 year old son, Bency told me he never wants to become an uncle.
I briefly closed my eyes, took a deep breath and prepared for what was coming next. I’m used to these kinds of statements. They happen frequently. They involve long stories; sit down discussions and lots of mind power on my part.
I asked why he didn’t want to become an uncle.
Bency said, “Once you become an uncle you die. It’s all over with. That’s it. I don’t want to die so I don’t want to become an uncle.”
I realized Bency had no idea what an uncle was so I explained that an uncle is the brother to one of your parents. I gave the example of his Uncle Bruce, the guy he sees pretty often and calls….”Uncle Bruce”.
Instead of setting his mind at ease, this explanation had him putting his head down, covering his eyes and shuddering, “Oh no, NOT Uncle Bruce! I didn’t know he was an….UNCLE! He looks more like a dad to me.”
Repeat me closing my eyes and taking a deep breath to prepare for delving in deeper with this issue.
Bency’s been like this forever. He thinks a lot. He makes himself scared a lot. In turn, this causes him to get scared in the middle of the night…a lot.
He has snuck into bed with my husband and me almost every night of his life like a stealth ninja. We wake up and there he is, all nestled in by us.
I haven’t made a big deal of it because I understand what it’s like to be scared in the middle of the night. I snuck into my parent’s bed plenty of times as a kid. The only difference between Bency and me is that I used to pee the bed so not only did I disrupt my parent’s sleep but they also woke up wet. Bency has never done this, so this does help his cause somewhat.
Regardless, I still try to offer incentives for Bency to stay in his bed all night. We had some luck when he started Kindergarten. I told him Kindergartners were big kids so they couldn’t sleep with their parents anymore. This did keep him at bay for a week. I thought my plan was a success. It wasn’t. Bency said, “I’ve been thinking about it and I think Kindergartners can still sleep with their parents. I’m really pretty small yet.”
Two nights ago, I set up a small Christmas tree in Bency’s room to hold all the ornaments he’s ever received. Bency decorated his tree all by himself and really thought it was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen.
At bedtime, Bency requested that his bedroom be rearranged so he had a better view of his tree so he could look at it all night. I wasn’t about to rearrange his bedroom but his enthusiasm for his Christmas tree gave me an idea.
I said to Bency, “Now Buddy, make sure you stay in your bed all night so you can protect your tree so no one comes and takes this beauty.”
Bency’s eyes got HUGE and he gasped, “WHO would come take some little kid’s Christmas tree out of their room? There are no bad people in the world that would do something like that….IS THERE??”
My heart skipped a beat and I mumbled, “No, uhhh, ummm, no, ummm, I didn’t mean that. I just meant someone might want to come and look at it, because it’s so beautiful.”
In a high, squeaky, shaky voice Bency asked, “You mean people might be sneaking into my room tonight?”
My stomach turned, I wanted to pound myself with a hammer over the head. As much as I wanted to hit the rewind button and erase what I said, I couldn’t. So I said the only logical thing left to say, “Hey buddy, do you want to sleep with Mommy tonight?”