My wife and I occasionally think our children are some kind of vampire. This isn’t because of the drain we feel on things like our patience, our wallets and our will to get off the couch – that’s normal. It’s because of their fascination with the dark.

My wife and I occasionally think our children are some kind of vampire.

This isn’t because of the drain we feel on things like our patience, our wallets and our will to get off the couch – that’s normal. It’s because of their fascination with the dark.

“Mom, I want to go outside,” our 5-year-old boy said one evening after supper. We encourage our children to play outside because we want them to think that’s still normal. But this was in late November when “after supper” in our part of the northern hemisphere is darker than space. Is this really normal? Sure, if you’re a vampire.

My wife didn’t hesitate.

“Yes,” she said. “Go. Run around the house. You need it. Oh, and take your sister.”

When you’re a new parent, there are things you just don’t let your kids do. You never let them play near the stairs, walk unsupervised around an open fire, or let them play within a chain’s length of Roscoe, the neighbor’s Rottweiler that once ate your cat. Pushing your children outside in the dark is never an option.

However, when your children reach preschool and kindergarten age, everything changes. You let them play with cutlery, drive heavy machinery, and experiment with nuclear fission. Why? They haven’t stopped screaming at each other since they got home from school and you just need two seconds peace.

“Great,” the Boy yelled and punched his little sister.

“He did that on purpose,” she whined, although she ran toward the front door giggling anyway.

“You need coats, hats and gloves,” their mother called after them. “And put on some pants if you’re going to play on the construction site.”

Then they were gone.

After enough time staring at each other, realizing we’d forgotten how to talk to other grownups, my wife and I put on our coats and went outside to find the Boy and Girl skulking in the bushes. So we all went to the construction site near our home complete with rubble, large grading equipment and jagged rusty pieces of metal. Fun for the whole family.

“Stop,” the Boy said, holding up a hand as we walked across what would someday soon be a road. After standing still a few seconds, he motioned for us to continue. He was just making sure there were no Martians lurking about. We were safe in the dark; the Boy carried a laser gun, a pointed stick, and had the Martian-hunting instincts of a trained space ranger.

Then the Girl stopped. The 3-year-old, in her big red coat and purple gloves, spun around to face us, her long hair clipped behind her head by an orange butterfly. She crouched, opened her mouth full of plastic, glow-in-the-dark green vampire teeth, and hissed. We were partly right about our children; at least one of them is a vampire.

It was cold so we were soon finished and walked back toward our house with hissing, shooting, shouting vampire space rangers.

My daily life confuses me.



Jason’s latest book, “Paranormal Missouri: Show Me Your Monsters,” is available at amazon.com.