Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Where the Weird Things Are

Originally posted on May 8, 2014

When my son David was little he had a fear of monsters for a while. To treat it—this was when he was about half-past-2—we role-played a book he enjoyed, Where the Wild Things Are. I worked on the key element of the book, looking into their yellow eyes without blinking once, and saying firmly, “Be Still!” I played the monster and he was intimidated by me at first, looking away. So I broke out of role and coached him. Then we played the scene. I roared my terrible roars, and clashed my terrible teeth and wiggled my terrible claws, and finally he tamed me. He got the knack of controlling his non-verbal “flinch.” At this, I whimpered and became tame. He had learned to tame the fierce Daddy-Monster!

I never really scared him much, and broke set, so he got the idea of us only playing, but he leaned to put on a fierce, firm face. For several days after I heard him around the house, in another room, shouting “Be still!” No more problem with monsters and he’s healthy today. But I was delighted that he used the Wild Thing as a logo for the conference he gave this last year in Austin. (He teaches graphic designers how to get the most out of certain software programs for desktop publishing.)


Ha ha! I’m very proud of him! Now he sings songs and tells stories with his sons!

One Response to “Where the Weird Things Are”

  • David Blatner says:

    First of all, it was you who was afraid of the monsters and I helped you get over them by playing the role game. (OK, just kidding.)

    But I love this story… now that you mention it, I remember!

    And, how can it be that after so many years of reading it myself, and then reading it to my own children, I never until now made the connection between Max shouting “Be still!” and Psalms 46:10: “Be still! and know that I am God.”

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