I almost told her the truth.
Then I thought it would be amusing for her to discover it for herself.
I'm mean that way.
We were having a movie night--when Tom is gone, I try to have these weekly. It's fun to introduce the kids to movies I enjoyed growing up.
So the movie started, and you know, right away someone is eaten by one of the dinosaurs.
Natalie immediately turned around and went, "These dinosaurs aren't cuddly! You faked me out!"
When this scene happened, she was not pleased:
"Is that t-rex going to EAT THE CHILDREN?" Natalie screeched.
"Maybe," Tommy answered. He had already seen the movie.
"I can't watch this if the children DIE!" Natalie bellowed and covered herself with a blanket.
"Is she going TO BE EATEN?" Natalie's muffled voice came from underneath the blanket.
I finally had to tell her that the children would be fine. A little dirty, yes, but not eaten. Natalie came out of her blanket for a bit.
But then this part upset her:
"IS HE GOING TO DIE?" She was practically catatonic.
"I already told you. The kids end up okay," I assured her.
"I'm going to shut my eyes now. Only because I'm tired. Not because I'm scared," Natalie insisted.
She said this at least three times throughout the film.
It occurred to me that I might be freaking my kid out. But still, it was a good movie, and frankly, I knew she wouldn't go upstairs anyway. She'd insist on watching the entire thing.
Panic set in again here:
"Are they GOING TO EAT THE KIDS? ARE YOU FAKING ME OUT AGAIN? IS THIS ALL A JOKE?" Natalie bellowed into my ear. At this point, she was on my lap.
(And I know some people might be all. "Didn't you just rant about tiny kids seeing adult movies?" Yes. I did. But I'd never take her to the movie theater to see a movie like this. I know better.)
"The kids will be fine," I promised.
She relaxed at this:
"See! The t-rex is nice! He saved them!" Natalie insisted. "I told you he was a nice animal."
When the credits rolled, she seemed confused:
"I don't understand. These dinosaurs are all nice on Dino Dan."
I worried she might be too afraid to sleep. I tucked her in bed and asked if she was scared.
"No." Her eyes got all shifty. "But I'm going to sing Frozen songs. Just to be sure."
And the she proceeded to scream them all, much to the chagrin of Tommy, who was like, "She's NOT GOOD! Tell her stop singing because she's NOT GOOD!"
She insisted on having her Frozen CD play the entire night.
So yes, I might have slightly traumatized my kid. But at least she knows the truth about dinosaurs.
Now when they learn about them in school, Natalie can be all, "They can be mean. There's a dinosaur that spits stuff in your face and puffs out his neck! My Mommy sometimes looks the same in the mornings if I try to talk to her too soon."