Tuesday, 1 March 2011

A Dragon can Break Your Heart

I sort of thought that by the time Tyran reached the grand old age of 8 that Baby Dragon would be well and truly a thing of the past. Not so.

Last week my little boy was told by someone who matters to him that Baby Dragon doesn't exist because she can't be seen or touched. He's been told that this week he'll have to take a lie detector test to see if Baby Dragon is real. Tyran is convinced that if he fails the test, this child, who is so important to him, won't be his best friend anymore. He's also been told, conversely, that there are dragon clouds in the sky that mean dragons are coming to get him because he stole a baby dragon. My lovely, imaginative little dreamer came home from school and wrote a letter to Baby Dragon to say goodbye. He drew a picture of himself crying and saying goodbye. He drew a picture of Baby Dragon all alone and crying. Somehow he needed to say goodbye to this important thing, but really he's not ready to at all.

My little boy's heart is broken and I don't know how to mend it. You see, the thing is that Baby Dragon is real.

So all that is left is a chance to convince Tyran that I know more than his friend does; that believing isn't dependent on seeing and touching; that I have seen Baby Dragon too; that dreaming and imagining is not the same as lying; that childhood should be magical.

It all started one morning, when Tyran was about 2 and before Hayley was born, we woke up to find a very large dragon sitting behind the chairs in the lounge. (Fortunately for Tyran, he has a mum with a great imagination!) The dragon wasn't really causing any trouble, but he was large and scary and Tyran spent the remainder of the day looking over at the chairs and saying he was scared of the dragon. By the end of the second day we took the decision to do what all perfectly sane parents do - we opened the front door and very loudly and publically shooed the dragon out. You'd think that would be the end of it, but oh no! The dragon sat across the road and wouldn't move. It kept up its watch. There was only one thing for it: dragon spray! So out came a little spray bottle, it got filled with magic water, and the dragon was sprayed with it. Believe it or not, it worked! No more big scary dragon. That is by no means the end of the story though.

A couple of days later Tyran went behind the chairs. He said he could hear crying. He found a baby dragon there, curled up and very sad. Turns out the big scary dragon was a mummy dragon and when we'd chased her away she'd left the baby behind. We tried to call her back, but it seems the dragon spray worked a little too well. It wasn't a big problem though. Tyran and the baby dragon, named, in a most unimaginative way, Baby Dragon, fell in love with each other at first sight. Baby Dragon very conveniently fitted into Tyran's little 2 year old hand or into a pocket. And so Baby Dragon came to live with us.

Naively I thought this would be a short-lived thing. Tyran lives in a fantasy world much of the time and there didn't seem to be anything special about this particular event. But Baby Dragon was here to stay. We went nowhere without that dragon. If we walked anywhere he carried her in his hand or pocket. If we drove anywhere she stretched her (shimmery, pink) wings and flew alongside us with the agreement that as soon as she told Tyran she was tired we'd open a window and let her in. She was naughty sometimes, flying to the top shelf in the supermarket and refusing to come down, responding only to one or two rather insane looking adults calling out in loud voices "Baby Dragon, you need to come down now!" whereupon she'd fly down and happily go to sleep in Anthony's pocket. She was easily distracted by things like trolleys or other people's luggage at the airport and was almost left behind once. It was only the thought of Tyran's tears lasting an entire flight to South Africa that prompted us to stand there calling for her. She got zipped up inside my handbag that day, just to make sure that she made it onto the plane without causing further embarrassment to us.

Baby Dragon was just a part of our lives. I ended up with 3 small beings to consider at all times: Tyran, Hayley and Baby Dragon.

As he's grown older, Baby Dragon has featured less in Tyran's life. He still loves her and insists she's real, which I'm sure she is. She tends to live in a box in his bedroom and looks after the "treasure" he likes to collect. Occasionally she comes out and I smile fondly at her. Rarely he'll even talk to her; but mostly she comes out of her box, has a cuddle, and goes back until the next time. I do miss her. I miss the innocence and carefree part of Tyran's childhood she represents. I'm sure she'll be real to me long after he's grown up and forgotten her. I do hope he never forgets fully though and that no-one ever tries to destroy her like happened last week. Everyone needs to believe in a little bit of magic after all.

Funnily enough, Baby Dragon has been everywhere this weekend...

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