For Thanksgiving, we had a small group. Me, boyfriend K, mom Liz, bestie Rose, Rose’s husband D, and their child V, who’s 4. V is a lovely little child who has no problem making friends with anyone. She particularly likes making friends with boys.
After dinner (in which V had three helpings of mashed potatoes), V began playing with the ponies she’d brought with her, and K decided to join her in play. Apparently, the ponies were all trying to run away from and also defeat the army of skeletons. While sitting on the stairs, V explained the plot of the play. “Well, all the skeletons are coming after the ponies, the ponies have to fight them off of their land because it’s where their houses are and where they eat. But the skeletons want to come and take it from the ponies. The skeletons are really scary, especially at night.” Then she looked at K, wide-eyed, and said “I’m scared!” and reached out to hug him. She’d scared herself with the story, and needed a reassuring hug from a big guy she’d met only a handful of times.
Later on, while discussing the Indiana Jone’s series, the film Temple of Doom was brought up. Apparently, Rose and D won’t let V watch it because of the scary parts. K agreed that parts of it are pretty scary, and that it should be called the Temple of DOOOOOOM (the last word pronounced in a deep, scary voice). V turned to K and insisted that he tell her about all the scary parts in the Temple of DOOOOOOM. She pronounced doom in the same voice as K–deep and scary, or at least as deep as a 4-year-old girl can make her voice.
“Well, there’s one part where they’re crawling through a tunnel and it has lots of spiders and bugs.”
“Oh, well that doesn’t sound scary. I like spiders,” she said. And she does like spiders. She wants to be an entomologist when she grows up. (Yes, she knows the word.) She also wants to teach the mommy black widows not to kill the daddy black widows after they make babies because it’s not nice.
“K, what else was scary in the Temple of DOOOOOOM?” she asked.
“Well, there’s also a part where there’s a lot of snakes.”
“What do the snakes do?”
She looked unconvinced.
“Tell me something else scary in the Temple of DOOOOOOM.”
“Hm…well, there’s a pit of lava.” Her eyes opened wide.
“What does the lava do?”
K glanced at Rose and D, silently asking how much he should tell V. He didn’t want to be the reason she had nightmares. With a shrug of their shoulders, they seemed to be ok with how the conversation was going so far. “Well, it lights up the inside of a cave,” he told her.
“And probably provides heating through thermal mass effect and convection,” I added helpfully.
V looked at me like I’d just spoken out of turn. It was K who was weaving this incredibly scary story, and she was riveted.
“Hey, K. Can you, um, please tell me something else scary. From the Temple of DOOOOOOM.”
“Well, in the Temple of DOOOOOOM, there are some stones that glow bright red and the bad guy wants all of them so he can keep doing bad things.”
“Like what,” asked V, eyes wide.
“Well, he makes kids do all sorts of chores for him,” K said, deftly avoiding saying they were child slaves.
“Whoa!” said V.
At the end of the night, Rose, D, and V packed up her ponies and left. Before they had pulled out of our neighborhood, I got a text from Rose. “V wants you to know she wants to see K again. I know it’s been 30 seconds.”
My answer was Of course!