Kids are so funny. It’s hard to get inside their brains sometimes, but the rule of thumb is that they are more literal than us grown-ups and less complicated overall. They live in a parallel fantasy world that peacefully coexists with what we call "reality."
My five year old son has been sleeping on an air mattress on top of his trundle bed. I will not invest in a regular mattress because we are expecting the arrival of our furniture from Central America any week now.
Last week I noticed that his mattress had begun losing air and each night we would find ourselves inflating it over and over again. Finally, we realized it was irreparable and we needed to purchase another.
Gradually my son started to complain that he didn’t want to sleep in the “broken bed” anymore. After just a few days of complaining, he decided that he DETESTED his bed. He no longer wanted anything to do with the bed; he completely rejected it once it refused to perform like a trampoline anymore after months of abuse.
The other day I took the poor battered mattress out of his room and traded it for a fresh new sweet-smelling vinyl one of the same (poor) quality. I wanted to put this useless and pathetic piece of rubber out of its misery, yet opted to store it on the patio en route to the recycle bin.
My younger son and daughter, ages two and three, found this rubbish tossed carelessly on the patio and immediately took delight in it- imagining it were a boat floating on a great sea full of ferocious sharks. In fact, the entire day they insisted on me serving all their meals on this “ocean picnic boat.”
Practically every book, puzzle, coloring book and toy were relocated and creatively arranged on top of this exciting new vessel to the likes of a wedding cake!
When my son, the actual owner of this inadequate object arrived home from school to find his old companion all dressed up as something else, he instantly showed tremendous enthusiasm.
He ONLY wanted to play there and also wanted to dine aboard. In fact,he took it a step further and converted it into a camping ground and brought his pajamas outside demanding to sleep on the bare thing for the entire night.
My husband and I were hysterical and stared at one another incredulously. I reminded my son that this was the same entity he had protested against so vehemently for the past week and begged me to discard.
My little boy looked at me as though I were totally insane and showed no understanding for what I was telling him. He proceeded,
“No Mommy, THIS is a camping bed and I love it. Don’t throw it away! - How could you? If you won’t let me sleep on it outside, please, please, let me camp out in the den.”
So he slept the entire night in the middle of the den on this barely inflated blow up sinking lower and lower to the ground with each passing hour.
When we tried to move him into his real bed at about 11pm, he immediately awoke, griped furiously, and fell right back to sleep.
He woke up the next morning bragging to all his siblings about his “camping experience” and once again, ignited jealously amongst everyone who now wanted the same.
When they all left for school that morning, I quickly disposed of the coveted item and just as quickly and fervently that it was revered, it was forgotten.
Not one of the children thought to ask me about it again.
It was as if the entire incident never happened.
Short-term memory failure?
Out of sight, out of mind?
Or simply, love passionately in the moment and move on.