Posted by: Louise | July 8, 2011


Astro Boy has a big imagination. He lives in worlds we occasionally get glimpses of. They fascinate him and terrify him. They distract him from our world and, at times, ground him in it.

Recently the Giraffe Princess saw a book in a shop “The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Weird Junior Edition“. It was the perfect book for Astro Boy. Instructions on how to survive alien abduction, how to avoid a black hole and how to control your dreams.

Astro Boy has bad dreams. We have tried everything – all the usual hints and tips based on our experience as kids (count to ten and open your eyes, remember it’s just a dream); guided meditation; dream catchers. K described to him at length once how there was a control room in each dream and, if you can find your way to the control room, you can make anything happen. Without batting an eyelid Astro Boy noted the inevitability of the killing machine sucking him up out of the control room and what would he do then?

Shortly after that AB became aware of Worry Dolls and rather fancied the idea of handing all his worries over. He wanted Worry Monsters though – one for each day of the week. Granny can knit up a storm and within the week he had seven Worry Monsters and named them Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. each took responsibility for the worries of the day and in time the dreams calmed and after about a year the monsters moved off his bed and in with the Puffles.

Recently though the Worry Monsters have moved back. With surprising and yet entirely expected ingenuity, Astro Boy has constructed an elaborate tangle of dream catcher/worry monster-ness and hung it over his bed. He is taking no risks.

The book was presented (Giraffe Princess and I in anticipation of its perfect fit in his life) and promptly cast aside with barely a sideways glance. It was a book after all, small and novelish in size rather than big and colourful and sciencey looking. And there it sat for a few weeks.

Until yesterday. We were going on a journey and it occurred to me that it might make a good car book – or ‘trapped in a small space and bored’ book.

This book is really useful, Mum!

Cue lengthy discussion about dreams and what kind of flying we do in dreams. AB flies like a bird. I run and gradually my strides are longer and longer until eventually my feet don’t touch the ground anymore. The Little Boy racer liked spiderman dreams.

And our conversation wandered to places I can’t pin down now, but there was reminiscing and then the Little Boy Racer queried whether the particular event I was talking about happened when he was with me in his egg. And in that moment I thought, not just you LBR, but the Giraffe Princess and Astro Boy and Laura. You were all with me in your eggs.

I’d never thought about it like that before – all four of them with me together, all my life. It made Laura’s absence now feel smaller than the whole of her presence.


Later (we had collected the cousins for a sleepover) I returned to the car where the boys and their cousins were waiting…

… you see everything was lava and then the lava hardened and then the dinosaurs came – long before humans, AB was explaining evolution carefully to his creationist cousins.

The Little Boy Racer was looking for yellow cars – Cheese on Wheels.



  1. Oh my! My 9 year old boy sounds so much like Astro Boy! I have to get him that book, he’s going to love it!
    And LOL, we do the cheese on wheels spotting too. :0)

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