So, a couple of nights ago, a little after 4 a.m., Vaught woke up. This is pretty rare so I assumed illness, nightmare, a tiny Jake or one of his Neverland Pirate sidekicks painfully poking into his fleshy little knee, something. He didn’t seem too bothered though – just awake. I didn’t think much about it until he really and truly woke up for the day and started telling me, in confusing detail, about the eagle that landed on his bed and eventually came to rest on my shoulder. Now, I know it was 4 a.m., and I was a little groggy, but I think I would remember if a large bird of prey was anywhere on my person.
His story sounded a little like something like this. Which makes sense to me. I am a PR person. This just sounds like a crisis communications meeting to me. We’ve come up with far crazier scenarios and have written press statements for them. Anyway, I did my best to reassure him that I am pretty sure none of that ever happened, but here’s where my logic was woefully flawed – I was trying to reason with a two-year old. Reason with a two-year old. Still, it seemed like a fantastic story he was enjoying telling so I wasn’t concerned. Until that night at bedtime, which is typically full of snuggly reading and rocking, was suddenly an all out battle against the tainted bird bed. He insisted an eagle was IN HIS BED, and he was not, repeat, NOT going to get in that bed. He basically told me to sell my crazy somewhere else because there was clearly a terrifying taloned fowl in his crib and that I was blind not to see.
I determined that the best plan of action was to explain it was all a dream, there was no bird in his bed and hey, look at that, your pals Bullseye and Mickey are the only things in there. No eagles, not even a tiny little sparrow. He seemed to buy it for a few minutes but, for the next hour, he fought, he cried, he insisted he wasn’t getting anywhere near that crib so just give up the fight, mommy lady.
After several tries, I tagged Neil. He rocked, he reasoned, he took everything out of the bed to remove any doubt that an eagle could maybe be hiding under his pillow pet. Still, no dice. I was listening from the living room, trying to think of what we could do and trying to determine if this was true fear or clever two-year old manipulation. I decided that it was fear and was debating maybe going into his room to shoo the imaginary bird out of the real window, mentally weighing the psychological ramifications of that decision. Would shooing the eagle out make him think there actually was an eagle? Would he think another eagle could get in? I even briefly considered pretending I was stomping the bird like I would a bug, but I couldn’t bring myself to really consider birdicide as an option. It’s an eagle. An endangered animal. And, I mean, America. It was about that time that I heard Neil say, “There’s no eagle, buddy. Daddy took care of it for you. I took it out back and shot it.” Vaught’s response? “Okay. Night night, Daddy.” And he peacefully drifted off to a birdless slumber. I, however, am considering talking to a professional about my inner conflict about ridding my home of imaginary animals.