Three weeks ago, I pretended to bite into Noah’s neck as he squealed in fearish delight. “Dad, what are you doing?” he demanded between giggles.
“I’m sucking your blood! I am a vampire!” I told him.
Of course this led to a very important discussion about what vampires were, how they were created, what it took to “kill ’em dead” and much heavy emphasis on the small fact that there are no real vampires and that all vampires are just regular people being silly. You know… to avoid nightmares and whatnot.
This in turn led to a game where we pretended to turn each other into vampires. We then turned Buddha into a vampire. And, for the next two, almost three weeks now, we turned just about every person that crossed our paths into vampires. Nobody was safe. Pedestrians, drivers, fellow-shoppers, classmates, family members, friends. Vampires even began making their way into our already crazy stories that we tell each other at nap time and bed time. At one point, we made a pact with each other that we’ll be vampires for Halloween this year.
Of course, one of Noah’s biggest fascinations was that vampires have super sharp teeth for easy butchering of their victims; and two weeks into our vampire fun, I realized he’d never actually seen a picture of a traditional vampire. So, with safe search on (a lesson I learned long ago when doing image searches with Noah), I typed in “vampire” and gave Noah a more thorough education, pointing out how “nice” some of the vampires were.
And then I realized… I have photoshop skills. Why have I not used them for this?
“Wanna see what we look like when we’re vampires?” I asked Noah.
He was taken back. “Dad, we don’t have sharp teeth.”
“I can take a picture of us and make us have sharp teeth. Just like real vampires.”
I’m pretty sure he screamed in approval before I even finished the sentence. So, I grabbed my camera, we headed to the kitchen, and we took a few self-timed photos while making our best vampire faces.
When we were happy with a couple of them, we headed upstairs to my office and got to work Photoshopping the pics. Noah soon lost interest since Dad’s sometimes a perfectionist, and he ran off to play while I finished the pictures. When they were done, I called him in and he came running. “Look!” I said. “We’re vampires!”
He took one look at the picture and fell silent. His face went solemn.
“Don’t you like it, I said?”
“I like it, Dad.”
“Then what’s the matter?” Something was definitely wrong.
He said nothing. Just looked at the picture.
“Does it scare you?” I asked him.
“Dad, we look mean.”
Kind of the point, I thought, a little perturbed that he wasn’t loving our creative genius.
“We DO look mean!” I said. “And we’re supposed to look mean cause we’re vampires and we suck people’s blood!”
He studied the picture for a few moments. “I wanna be a nice vampire, Dad. I want you to be a nice vampire.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. My kid has such a tender heart when it comes down to it. “Oh, we are super nice vampires. This isn’t a mean picture, this is just us making funny mean faces!” I assured him.
“So we’re really nice vampires and we’re just making funny mean faces?” he repeated.
Then he started smiling. And then he started laughing. “That’s a funny picture!” he suddenly insisted. “We’re nice vampires but we’re scary too!”
“That’s right, buddy.” I said. “Now let’s go find some blood.”
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
PS. Have your kids ever become obsessed with something from the fantasy world? What was their creature/monster of choice and how long did it last?