Psychologists will tell you that The Monsters are a child's manifestations of uncertainties and fears surrounding events in their lives. But you can't really tell that to a three-year-old.
The Monsters have recently moved in with Gert. In part, I blame the impending start of preschool. In part, I also blame this book. But with Gert's imagination, I knew it was only a matter of time.
Gert will describe to you exactly what The Monsters sound like when they talk in their growly voices at night. She'll tell you what they look like, where they sit in her room, and what time of night they usually show up.
Gert came into my bed around 4:30 this morning and plopped her head down on my pillow. " I didn't close my eyes all night," she said.
"You can't sleep?" I asked, pulling her into bed with me.
"Sometimes," said Gert, "if you keep your eyes open, The Monsters won't come."
I thought about repeating the it's-in-your-imagination speech, but I was too tired. Gert, however, was clearly not, and she proceeded to tell me (in very animated tones) every detail about last night's encounters.
"My bed was spinning! And I would sit up, and I would get really dizzy. And the pictures on my wall turned into diamonds. Not the Lance picture, but my Bambi picture did. And it started to spin. And the walls were spinning too. And The Monsters came when I closed my eyes. But when I opened my eyes, they would not come. So I kept opening my eyes all night. But then my ceiling turned into a tunnel! And your ceiling looks like a tunnel too! But my eyes are open so I don't see any Monsters. They talk like this – GRROWLLERROWWLL! And when I looked at the window it looked like morning, so I thought I could wake up. Because Monsters only come at night time. But then I went potty, and when I came in here it was still night time…"
I haven't told you this, but I have an overactive imagination too. I sometimes lay in bed awake totally paralyzed with fear that aliens have stolen my husband and replaced him with an alien. Or that if I put my feet over the side of the bed to go to the bathroom, something will grab my ankles.
I still remember being about Gert's age and Actually Seeing Monsters. They were cartoonish and a little transparent, but I watched them wander around my room, climb into my baby brother's crib, and swing from a chair.
Gert's talk about beds spinning and gravelly monster voices was giving me the serious willies.
Then Gert leaned over with her face close to mine and put both hands on my cheeks. "Mom! One of The Monsters has eyes like a flashlight!"