This morning, at 6:22, Max sat up in bed, sang a line from "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom", asked for chocolate milk, and was right in the middle of yelling at Maggie for being in his spot when he happened to look up at the bedroom window. His eyes bugged out and he started shaking. "MAMA!" he screamed. "MAMA, HELP!" Neither Ian nor I could figure out what had happened -- he was sitting in bed, nothing seemed to be hurting him, nothing looked out of the ordinary in the room or out the window, and while Maggie had been annoying him with her proximity, she was technically still asleep and therefore probably not guilty of anything too heinous. I held Max close to me for a few minutes, and then lay him in bed, where he calmed down and eventually dozed off again, but kept both arms and legs wrapped around me tightly even in his sleep.
After we got up about an hour later, I was in the bathroom washing my hands when Max casually said, "Mama, there was a monster. I saw a monster this day looking in the window. He was looking in the window in our bedroom. He was a red one. He made a face like this," and Max pursed his lips in an 'o' shape to demonstrate.
This explains Max's terror this morning. I, too, would be disconcerted if I saw a red monster peeking in the window and pursing his lips at me. Since I am fairly certain that there was no actual red monster, though (you can never be 100% sure about these things, but I did look out the window when Max got all bug-eyed, and that monster was either a wily SOB who ducked down mighty quick-like, or he was not in fact corporeal), I expressed to Max the theory that he had dreamed the incident. He remained adamant about what he had seen, right down to the 'o' face. He was even reluctant to nap, and asked to sleep in the corner of the bed that is farthest from the window. I have tried to explain dreams to him, but I think that when you are a kid, dreams and reality are not all that distinguishable. Max is getting to be quite creative and imaginative, as I was as a tot, and bad dreams do sometimes go along with all of that. I feel quite sorry for my little guy, although he is now quite cheerful about the monster, and relates it as an amusing anecdote more than a traumatic episode. And, on the plus side, I secretly trimmed the hair on the back of his neck while he was sleeping at nap time, and if he notices (he is still asleep right now), I am fully planning to blame that dastardly red monster.