Thursday, November 08, 2007

Just how dumb am I?

I recently posted elsewhere about my daughter's frequent discussion of "the witch":

"That's the witches' forest." She pointed to the sideyard of a smallish mansion on the way to school.
"Oh, it's very pretty."
"No, it's scary."

She's been talking a lot about witches lately.

The other day:

"I locked the witch in my room."
"You did?"
"Yes. That way, she can't come out and talk to me."

I hadn't known that she was having trouble with witches.

I was rather glib about what I'd assumed -- despite my (gulp) intuition -- to be the flight of her imagination.

Recently, when I thought about it, it occurred to me that my four-year-old hadn't had the same lilt in her voice as she does when she's making believe. So, at dinner time last evening, I casually approached the subject:

"You mentioned before that there's a witch in your room . . ."

"Yes. But she's trapped."

"She is?"

"Yes. She always says, 'Ah, let me out'."

"Oh. I see. Is she a witch or a ghost?"

"She wears a witch costume."

"She comes to play with me. She doesn't share. She hits and throws toys."

"Do you like it when she comes to play?"

"No," she said quite seriously. "She disturbs me."

"She does?"

"Yes. She always sleeps on my bed. In the mornings."

"Does that bother you?"


"Oh, that's good."

"It just scares me."

"Does she speak to you?"

"Yes, she always calls me."

"Did you first see her before Halloween or after?"


"What's her name?"

"It's a 'Sah, sah, sah' [sounding out an 'S'] sound..."

"Like Cecilia...Sarah?"

"It's Sarah!!" She was happy that I'd guessed it.

More today:

"Is she big like Mummy or small like you?" I asked her while we cuddled this morning.

"Small like me."

"Did she ask you not to tell your Mummy and Daddy that she comes to play?"

"Yes," she said, almost embarrassed. "But I said, 'I have to'."

"Wow. You did the right thing." I kissed her cheek. "You tell Mummy and Daddy everything. No secrets."

I had to follow up with the "witch's forest".

"You said that it was the witch's forest yesterday, when we walked to school."

"Yes, Mummy. That's where she lives. Wait, I think I hear her...Oh, no. That's just the baby."

She's told us more about "the witch"--whom she thinks is about two years old--voluntarily and when questioned. Some of it:

"She didn't go out trick-or-treating."

"She didn't?"

"No. She was too late [when she came over]."

Wow. I made such a common mistake, one that I've often warned clients about: I assumed my daughter was 'making up' a friend or a character and she was actually talking about a ghost.

Shame on me!