At some point when I was a kid, I woke my parents up with a strange problem. “Get the gun out of my room,” I told them.
Perturbed, they followed me into my room. Gun? What gun? Despite their reassurance that everything was fine and there was no firearm present, I refused to go back to bed. Instead, I paced in front of my bed, agitated. “Get the gun,” I repeated, again and again.
They finally determined that I, apparently in a sleep-waking state, thought that my Fisher Price tape recorder was a gun. They took it out of the room, and I went back to sleep.
That twilight state between sleep and waking is a weird place. Another time I came downstairs asking them to help make the rocks stop falling from the sky. I guess I had trouble sometimes discerning between dreams and reality.
Which is creepy. But kids do creepy things, whether they’re in a dream state, or else learning how to use language. A recent post on the social networking site Reddit asks, “What is the creepiest thing you’ve ever seen a kid do/say?”
And phew! Some of the responses are weird.
One parent, who goes by the handle thingsmeantobe, wrote: “My five-year-old at the time had night terrors and would scream in her sleep. One night I said mama’s here its [sic] okay.’ She looked right at me still asleep and screamed, “mama? But who is that behind you?'”
I don’t think I’d be able to sleep after that.
Another, ZombieDog, recounts how her daughter stopped saying goodnight and instead would sign off by whispering “Don’t die.” Then she changed it to “Don’t die. Don’t kill.”
Good advice, but I prefer “pleasant dreams.”
The Owls Are Not What They Seem
A former summer camp counselor, bohring1150, reported how a child had pulled away from his peers and seemed preoccupied. “I’m angry,” he told the counsellor. “The owls have dead eyes.”
Camping kind of freaks me out too.
The Lil’ Godfather
Sometimes my son Felix adopts my tone, talking to me as if I were the kid and he the parent. If I’m annoying him, he says, “Stop being naughty, daddy! You’ll go on timeout.” In a similar vein, Scarecrowsuperman tells of how his niece didn’t want to stop playing with her toys so that she could be included in family pictures. When her mother forced the issue, she whispered “It would be a shame if something bad were to happen to you mommy.”
Guess she had been watching mafia movies?
Sometimes, kids say the darndest things without even realizing it. Ranguvar recounts how his mother, a daycare worker, once had to break up a preschool game of house when the “mother” began screaming to the “father,” “You drunken bastard, where were you last night!?”
And CtrlShiftZ wrote “Daddy, remember that time we died?”
Who knows what that means! Sometimes, kids talk about dreams or fantasies as if they’re real, and they adopt such a serious or thoughtful tone — or worse, a cutesy, funny voice — that it’s downright freaky. They don’t mean to be unsettling… unless they do, and they’re trying to get to you. Oh man, now I’m scaring myself.