For Thanksgiving, we had a small group. Me, boyfriend Carl, mom Liz, bestie Rose, Rose’s husband Don, and their child Daisy, who’s 4. Daisy is a lovely little child who has no problem making friends with anyone. She particularly likes making friends with boys.
After dinner (in which Daisy had three helpings of mashed potatoes), Daisy began playing with the ponies she’d brought with her, and Carl joined her. According to Daisy, the ponies were all trying to run away from, and also defeat, an army of skeletons. “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,” she explained. Looking at Carl, wide-eyed, she said “I’m scared!” and reached out to hug him. Daisy had scared herself with the story so much she needed a reassuring hug from a big guy she’d met only a handful of times.
Later that evening, we began discussing Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Rose and Don won’t let Daisy watch it because of the scary parts. Carl 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). Daisy turned to Carl and insisted that he tell her about all the scary parts in the Temple of DOOOOOOM. She pronounced doom in the same voice as Carl–deep and scary, 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,” Carl said.
“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, and knows what an entomologist is. She’s told Rose that she wants to teach the mommy black widows not to kill the daddy black widows after they make babies because it’s not nice.
“Carl, 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?”
Carl glanced at Rose and Don, silently asking how much he should tell Daisy. 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.
Daisy looked at me like I’d just spoken out of turn. It was Carl who was weaving this incredibly scary story, and she was riveted. My input wasn’t necessary.
“Hey, Carl. Can you, um, please tell me something else scary. From the Temple of DOOOOOOM,” she asked innocently.
“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 Daisy, eyes wide.
“Well, he makes kids do all sorts of chores for him,” Carl said, deftly avoiding saying they were child slaves.
“Whoa!” said Daisy.
At the end of the night, Rose, Don, and Daisy packed up her ponies and left. Before they had pulled out of our neighborhood, I got a text from Rose. “Daisy wants you to know she wants to see Carl again. I know, it’s been 30 seconds.”
My answer was of course!