Fear of a Black Hat

I’m not exactly sure how it all came about but somehow Devra and I had gotten to talking about hats with horns and I said I wanted a hat with red horns and ear flaps.

Then I forgot all about it until Monday.

On Monday my doorbell rang and it was the UPS guy with a package. The package contained this:

Greatest. Hat. Ever.

The awesomest hat that ever was.

It has red horns and ear flaps and it is fleece on the inside. The strings that come down on the sides have pointy triangles at the ends so they look like devil tails.

I love this hat.

Sure I look like a maniac when I wear it in public, but this way nobody ever bothers me.

There is just one problem.

My son is terrified of this hat.

I blame the puppet devil.

I honestly don’t know how the son of an Atheist mother comes to fear the devil so much. I have always thought that a huge part of the problem with organized religion was that some of it is so scary –  you know, like smiting and plagues and eternal hellfire and whatnot.

But Ian is scared of the devil and he doesn’t want me to wear my hat at all.

Clearly, I just wear it when he is not around, but I feel bad for him.

I tried to explain that it was just Mommy in a hat with horns, I was not the puppet devil or any devil for that matter but it didn’t really make him feel any better.

It isn’t just this either. The other day he was crying because I was singing “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” and somehow he translated that into me saying the sun was going to blow up and so he couldn’t sleep.

We try to tell Ian not to worry about stuff like this. I assume if the sun exploded we would probably all die so quickly that it wouldn’t matter, but I tell him that if the sun was going to explode the scientists would already know about it and they are watching it and it isn’t going to explode any time soon, plus it is a huge ball of burning gasses already and so it couldn’t possible explode.

I have no idea what is actually true. I just don’t want him to be afraid anymore.

How do you quell irrational fears in a five year old? Hell, how do I stop the rational ones?

I’m still going to wear my hat, just not in front of my son.

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  1. I love the hat….but I have no advice. Hope he gets over the hat thing?

  2. It is because of hard questions like this that I only have dog children.

  3. Oh your poor son…don’t you hate it when things like that scare them, and you can’t easily make it better.

    On a side note…my son LOVES It’s The End of The World!

  4. The other side of the question: why would an atheist mother so covet a devil hat?

  5. Um…..but, you have your sceery-eyes on!

  6. My daughter is the same way. She has even been afraid of the world exploding. I’m sure if I had a devil hat, she would be terrified of it.

  7. I love that hat. The uses (for me) are too numerous to go into.

  8. I don’t blame him, you look really really really scary. Why are you trying to blow up the world:?

  9. I wish I knew a fix for you! I was like that as a kid. I vividly remember staying up all night IN TEARS because I had seen some TV show about how the world was supposed to end soon or some such thing. I would get myself so worked up I would get literally sick from worry.

    My Dad loves to remind me that he stayed up most of the night with me once when I was in kindergarden because I had missed two days of school and was CONVINCED that I was going to fail out of school because of this, despite the fact that I was reading chapter books and learning division.

    I’d say what you’re doing sounds right – just be there and talk him through it and hold his hand, and hope your support helps him feel safe enough to worry less.

  10. I LOVE the hat.

    As far as Ian goes, my 6YO was the same way for a long time – full of irrational fears about movies (regardless of what they were about or where we watched them), all things Halloween, and a number of other things.

    Fortunately, she’s gotten past them. I rack it up to some teacher-led discussions with her peers at school and some good old-fashioned “don’t be a baby” cajoling from the older kids in after care. There’s probably a bit of improved rationalization that’s come with her age, too. That said, I’m going to score a “win” for peer pressure on this one. It won’t get too many more points in the years to come, I’m sure.

  11. I think I’d break this out every time someone challenged me for a parking space. And also when going to the DMV.

    Wish I could help with the question about fears. Good luck, friend!

  12. I love the title of this post. And I love your hat.

    I think most kids go through crazy fears. Just the other night Eric told me that the neighbor’s have a light by their driveway & it is always on and it was scary.

    Just hug Ian, tell him your are sorry he is scared & explain why he shouldn’t be (which I am sure you do). In a few months he will steal your hat & wear it to school. You’ll get the call, don’t worry.

  13. First? Great hat. Second? Kids are weird. Isn’t is interesting how they develop a fear of something out of the blue?

  14. Apryl's Antics says:

    Maybe, just maybe, you could let him try the hat on and look at himself in the mirror? Then he could perhaps get a better understanding of its role as just a hat-nothing scary that transforms the wearer into an evil deity. Just a thought.

  15. No worries about the sun exploding! it is actually undergoing nuclear fusion, so gas molecules are combining to form heavier molecules and, thus, releasing energy (as light and heat). Therefore, the sun will never explode, it will, however, eventually run out of molecules that can undergo fusion and lose its ability to release energy. At that point in time, we will have 8 minutes before the sun’s energy runs out here on earth and we will likely freeze to death pretty quickly. But, that won’t be for millions of years!

  16. This post had my friend Julie and I laught hysterically on the phone together. (Yes, we are like teenagers who read things/watch things while on the phone.) I started to get into my whole laughing/crying/asthmatic wheezing thing then laughing/crying more, which is my highest form of comedic praise. If my husband comes home and finds me dead on the floor, it will be your fault. I’m just saying…

  17. That hat is the bomb.

    Mimi has irrational fears too. The other night she had trouble sleeping because they had talked about assassins in school and she was worried that the president might get assassinated (not sure why this made her fear sleeping, maybe she was worried it would happen in her bedroom?)

  18. Just tell ’em that it does not get any better and his life will be filled with irrational fears. I still fear ninjas hiding in my bushes.

  19. Kids go through stages of fear at different developmental agest, if Ian is still scared of the devil hat when he’s 21, then seek help. I remember being in San Francisco and someone said “Look the fog is coming in.” I was 4 or so at the time and I dove under the table and was terrified the fog was coming into Senior Pecos, the restaurant where we were eating.
    the waiter served me under the table, he was really great. My mother also got under the table to explain what fog actually is.

    Maybe I need to get you an angel hat too…

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