I like to think my husband and I are good parents. When our children ask us tough questions, we straddle the line between telling the truth and seeking advice from Noggin. Hey, it's preschool on TV. Until recently this has worked like a charm.
This past Sunday, our children watched “101 Dalmatians.” Our 6 year old daughter was deeply affected by this cute Disney movie about kidnapping, thieves and animal cruelty. At bedtime she seemed extremely unsettled so my husband asked her if she was alright. He asked if the movie had upset her. She wanted to know if thieves were real and could they break into our house? This is what I like to call a “requesting backup” parenting moment. If her fear had been ghosts or monsters he could have gone in solo. However, thieves are tricky and he went it alone. 15 minutes later I slid into bed with my sweet girl. I prepared to sing her the same song I’ve sung to her almost every night since she was a baby. She snuggled into position with her arms around me and said, “Mama. Is Bernie Madoff gonna steal my puppy?”
My wonderful husband, the smartest man I’ve ever known, chose to make white collar criminal Bernie Madoff my daughter’s “Boogie Man.” I explained to her Bernie was never ever coming to our house, or any other house for that matter, since he was spending the rest of his life in jail. She was still freaked out. She wanted to know as much as she could about Mr. Madoff. “What does he look like? Does he have a roommate? What does he wear? What is his bed like?” I revealed as much as I could about him and then remembered his wife, Ruth. “Is Ruth alone? Does she have pets? Where does she sleep? Does she have a comfortable bed?” We also talked quite a bit about prison. Mostly about the food. We both wondered if inmates eat dessert. I sincerely hope serial killers don’t get tapioca.
Before I knew it 45 minutes had passed. I promised her we’d Google him in the morning. Sadly, I bet Bernie gets “Googled” a lot in prison. I felt really good about our conversation and she seemed to be ok. I kissed her goodnight and started to get up. She pulled me back and said, “Mama, I still have 4 scary things in my head. Ghosts, Monsters, Haunted Houses and Bernie Madoff.”
As I left her room my heart broke. I hope the only thing my beautiful children will ever have to fear is a 71 year old lying sack of shit billionaire thief who's safely tucked away in prison for 170 years.