"Mom, I had a really bad dream last night. You were a princess, and an evil witch was eating you."
"Did you save me?"
He looked sad. "I couldn't. I kept trying to make the dream go away, but it kept coming back. Where is that thing? For dreams? Sicily still has her pink one, I saw it!"
"Do you mean the dream catcher? I don't know where yours went, John."
He sighed disconsolately. "My bad dreams won't go away. The thing that catches dreams is lost. I'm gonna have bad dreams."
"No you won't, John. It will catch bad dreams, no matter where it is in the house. I know yours is around here somewhere. And Sicily's will catch your bad dreams too, even though it is in her room. Don't worry."
He perked up. "How does it work? Does it get the bad things that come into the house in the night? The really bad things? Does it jump off of the nail and go like this?" He mimed grabbing a dream catcher off the side of his bunk bed and pounding an invisible bad thing on his pillow. Such a testosterone-laden interpretation of the function of a dream catcher. I loved it.
"But mom, mine isn't here. I'm still worried the bad dreams will come in the night."
"John, I've got a solution. Give me your ear."
He leaned over, and I made a loud inhaling breath noise, right beside his ear. He pulled away and watched me, while I chewed vigorously and swallowed.
"There. I ate all your bad dreams. Later, I'll poop them out and flush them down the toilet."
He laughed, then looked alarmed. "No mom, those were my good dreams! My bad dreams are in the other ear."
I quickly blew the good dreams back into his right ear and sucked the bad dreams from the other ear. "Better?"
"Yes mom! Don't forget to flush them away."
I hope it works. This age, four, is so wonderful. He still believes wholeheartedly in all of my magical mommy powers, like when I do something silly with a band-aid before I apply it so it will make him heal faster. If I forget, he'll remind me through his tears. "Don't forget to do that magic thing, mom!"
I hope I never see the day when he no longer believes in magic.