They’re watching us
A few nights back, C caught himself a nasty cough. During the night this cough combined with some nightmares. He was crying and couldn’t sleep, so I went to his room and stretched out beside him. While he was calming down and telling me about his nightmares, he spotted the little green light of the fire alarm above his door.
He stopped talking and pointed. “Ooh. What’s that?”
“That’s a fire alarm.”
He nodded and tried out the new phrase, “yes, fire alarm.”
I explained that the fire alarm would make a loud noise if there was trouble, but otherwise it just hung there quietly. I didn’t want to get into the idea of a fire in the middle of the night, so I just said “trouble”.
Fast forward to yesterday evening. I was struggling to get C into his pajamas while he was being bad (running around, trying to stop me from putting them on). Suddenly, he spotted the fire alarm again. His eyes got big and he got very quiet. He whispered “fire alarm” and came over to me.
Not being one to miss an opportunity, I quickly finished getting his pj’s on. Then I said loudly and happily, “Okay! Time to read a story!”
He shushed me in an urgent whisper. “Shhh! Fire alarm. No trouble. No trouble.”
I explained that it was okay, and that the fire alarm wasn’t going to go off. We walked into the den to start the bedtime reading – and he spotted another fire alarm on the ceiling in there. He froze in the spot, and then ran over to the couch where his mom was sitting. He pointed to the fire alarm, and then put his finger to his lips and whispered “Shhh. fire alarm. No trouble. No trouble.” and climbed up onto the couch to get ready to read the story.
Now, I’m in a tough spot. On the one hand, we have fire alarms in almost every room, and C is very good when he sees one. On the other, is it really okay to have your child thinking there are robotic monsters hanging from the ceiling, waiting to scream if there’s any trouble?
It’s a quandry.