“What day is it,?” asked Pooh.
“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
“My favorite day,” said Pooh.”
-A. A. Milne
Bedtime, Thursday night: I stumble around in a confused state because Derrick has a bug bite the size of Alaska on his leg AND it feels like Friday. These things can throw me way off. The point is, it was time to tuck small people into Thomas the Train Sheets and Stuffed Animals. They were NOT having it.
“Mom. I’m scared…” began the 6 year old.
Since I had clocked out mentally HOURS ago, I threw caution to the wind. “What are you afraid of? The purple armadillo?” I asked innocently.
He took the bait.
“The purple armadillo that tap dances at midnight!” I exclaimed in an Everyone-Knows-This voice.
He asked me to tell him more. I feel the adrenaline rush of improv night and dive in, head first.
“He comes into little boy’s rooms at midnight and does a tap dance. Then he sings a song at the end of his dance. He is a performer,” I say with authority.
“Is this fiction?” he asks me.
I glare at him sternly and say, “DO you want to hear the song he sings?”
He nods and I begin, a quick wave of panic hitting me because I need to make this good. It has to rhyme. We are dealing with a six year old who knows what “fiction” means.
I begin in my jazzy scat voice:
“I’m the purple armadillo and I like to dance!
He laughs hysterically and I make a mental note to involve more pant humor in my day to day interactions. Kindergartners, man. Thinking the fears were gone, I follow up with a Rabbit Shadow Puppet show and dance out of the room.
A few minutes later, Derrick goes in to give hugs, and I hear the four year old nervously ask, “Dad…is it TRUE about the purple armadillo?”
Derrick, suffering from a mystery bug bite and a long day at work, struggles. I can hear his brain creak as he tries to decode his son’s question.
“The purple armadillo that likes to tap dance,” explains Shel patiently. I fall on the floor, tears streaming down my face. I shake with laughter.
“Um…” Derrick began, “Who is talking about a purple armadillo?”
“Mommy” said Q.
The jig was up. Sheldon announced quite firmly that he didn’t want to be visited by a purple armadillo, Q sang the song to Derrick, and I wiped my tears with the sleeve of my sweatshirt.