I had been up for a couple of hours when I heard stirring in my youngest’s bedroom. As I walked closer I could see flickers of sunlight dance into the hallway. He was checking to see if it was morning time, as he calls it.
Lately, when he wakes up, he comes barreling into the living room looking for me. But today as I peeked into his bedroom, he was just sitting on his bed talking to himself. He wasn’t in a hurry to get up.
“Good morning,” I sang to him.
“Are we going to stay people?”
Ummmm, what? Not the response I was expecting. Confused, I tried to ask a clarifying question suitable for a five year old.
“What do you mean stay as people? Like, not change into animals or something?”
“Yeah, are we going to stay as people?” he asked again, a little more firmly yet as simply as if he was asking for some fruit snacks.
“Yes,” I answered confidently, “yes, we stay as people.”
I was waiting for him to elaborate or tell me a story that would help give this seemingly urgent question some context, however, he just continued to sit there contently thinking and mumbling to himself.
But I had to know more.
“Did you have a strange dream, babes?”
“Yeah, I had dreams. Pac-Man’s eyes got scary and he tried to eat me.”
Yikes. “Well, that’s not a good dream. Maybe less video games for awhile,” feeling a flash of guilt for allowing possibly too much screen time this summer.
He must not have heard the last part of my comment because he did not protest. Instead he happily got up and started his day.
The answer he gave about mean Pac-Man didn’t fully answer why he asked if we stay as people, but I had a feeling I wasn’t going to get a detailed answer, so I Iet it go.
I couldn’t stop thinking about how bizarre his first remark of the morning was. When I mentioned it to my husband he connected it to his learning about caterpillars and reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle repeatedly.
That seemed like a logical explanation. But of course my imagination gets carried away sometimes, and throughout the day I found myself wondering what he meant by that question. Should I be concerned? Or impressed? Is he having some deep enlightenment about the human soul? Is this him trying to understand loss and death? Or is he simply wondering/worried about morphing into something else like a mean Pac-Man?
I will likely never know exactly what caused him to ask that question. I will only be able to continue to ponder the crazy dreams his little brain is creating. And I have a feeling I will forever remember the question, “Are we going to stay people?’
Should be fun to bring up again when he’s a teenager.