A little background……Indians, especially Hindus, by nature and because of religion (mixed with a heavy dose of mythology), are extremely superstitious people. Everything can be fixed by doing the most absurd thing. Got a cough? Tie a piece of thread on your wrist and you will be fine tomorrow. Got a bad temper? Wear a particular type of stone and over time, your anger will melt away. To ward off evil, hang a piece of lemon and some chillies on the door. Never cross the path of a black cat, it brings bad luck etc. etc. etc. etc.
Every once a while Rhea does something so profound and extraordinary that my chest swells with pride. Yesterday, she took off the steel bangle given to her by my mom-in-law (insisted on by my mom in India) shouting “this is not working” and threw it on the bed.
So when my daughter suddenly developed a fear of monsters in the house, I did the only thing I knew, I tried to be extra patient, I would talk to her, go check the place where she thought she saw a monster. The problem is that the fear of monsters has come to the point where she will not sleep in her room at all and not let me out of her sight at night time even for a few seconds. It’s really annoying and yet endearing at the same time. She is absolutely fine as long I don’t leave the room. It is cumbersome to have her sleep (in her own cot) in my room but it is nothing that I cannot live without.
This is what I explained to my mom (who lives in India) when I spoke to her a few weeks ago. And upon hearing Rhea’s reactions, she immediately gave her solution to the problem : She must wear a steel bangle and always place a glass of water next to her bed before she goes to sleep. I immediately dismissed it however I did not count on her speaking to my mom-in-law who lives 10 KM from my house her in Ontario who looks after Rhea after her school until I come home to pick up Rhea. Since, my mom-in-law is doing quite a lot for me and my wife, I usually let her have her way with Rhea. And when she immediately put a steel bangle on Rhea, I kept my mouth shut.
Rhea loved her new bangle. She would show it off to her friends and to the neighbours. She would explain to anyone who would care to listen that it helps her from monsters. And I would always add that the bangle will not help her as there are no monsters to begin with but I guess that concept is a little difficult to comprehend for a 4 and 1/2 year old. So the bangle stayed on until last night.
While getting her ready for bed, Rhea heard a loud bang outside her bedroom window (my neighbours door slammed shut) and she suddenly went stiff, looking scared and I tried to calm her down and showed her what had actually happened. And then suddenly she noticed her bangle and said “this is not working anymore. I don’t want it” and pulled it off her wrist and threw it on the bed. And I just smiled at her wonderful way of arriving at the conclusion that a piece of metal will not help ward of frightening thoughts.