"Mama, Mama! Dey tooked my heart and hid it!"
It's midnight and Toddler ("Toddler" at the time--it was the night before his birthday) had finally seemed to fall asleep just 45 minutes earlier.
"Your heart?!" Where did he learn about literal hearts? I wondered.
Toddler began to wail, "I can't find it Mama! My heart is gone. Dey tooked it out of my stomach and ran away wif it!"
For a moment, I tried to figure out where he had seen anything like this, or what could have inspired it, but soon I just picked him up and cuddled him in his bed. "No, darling, your heart is right here," pulling his own little hand to his chest, "can you feel it?"
"What. Is Dat?" He asks with his funny pauses.
"It's your heart! It's going ba-bump ba-bump ba-bump"
"Can I see my heart? Can I look at it?"
"We can't see it, it's underneath your skin. But we can feel it."
"Can I take off da skin and look at it?"
"No honey, we can leave it as it is, it will be fine."
"Can I hold my heart? I want to hold it!"
"No, honey, it stays inside your chest."
A long pause.
"Dey tooked my heart, Mama. Out of my chest."
"Oh sweetheart, your heart is right here, you can feel it, remember?"
"I need to hold my heart, Mama. So it can be safe."
"Your chest will hold it and keep it safe, Honey."
And we fell asleep with my hand on his, and his hand on his heart, both our hands listening for the reassuring ba-bump ba bump.