Bhuuhuu, I’m scared, so scared …

… of the clock.

Just picture this , it’s mid-afternoon, ‘Timan’ is peacefully napping since about 1 1/2 hours, everything is quiet. But all of a sudden:

‘Timan’: “Bwaeeee, mommy, mommy”

me (rushing into the bedroom because it sounded like he got stung by something, or fell off the bed): “Oh honey, what’s the matter?”

him: “Bwaeee, mommy … bwaeee … I’m so scared.”

me: “But why, there is nothing to be afraid of and I was just in the room next door. What happened?”

him: “I’m sooouuu scared, bwaeee …”

me: “My love, tell me, what are you scared of?”

him: “The clock, (sobs), over there,(sobs again), at the wall.”

me: “Yes, I can see the clock, it’s been there since ever, and it’s actually broken. It doesn’t even make tic-tac. Now it’s more a picture than a clock. There’s a flower in the picture, do you see it?”

him: (stopped crying) “Yes, it’s a nice flower, and it’s yellow.”

me: “So tell me, sweety, what happened, what made you cry?”

him: “Mommy, you know, I’m just so scared of it.”

So I was taking the clock off the wall, gave it to ‘Timan’ and he could have a very good and close look at it and his world was ok again for this day.

But this scenario did not just happen once, it has happened several times during the last month. Always with the same clock, that’s hanging on the bedroom wall and doesn’t work since almost one year.

Sometimes  ‘Timan’ is waking up crying and telling me he’s scared because he felt someone pressing his belly. He possibly just rolled over and ended up lying on his hand.

Over the last month or so I realised ‘Timan’ is more aware of the world around him than I thought he is. He’s taking in everything that’s happening around him like a sponge, he thinks about events he saw or he deals with them subconsciously in his dreams and he’s talking in his sleep sometimes. He is beginning to have fears and anxieties that I have a hard time to understand. There are some things he doesn’t quite understand and therefore they frighten him and he’s scared of them:

  • imaginary threats: the clock at the wall or his own fist pressing his belly during the sleep are transformed in his vivid imagination into things he has no name for (yet).
  • forces that cannot be controlled: the waves at the beach all of a sudden can turn into grasping hands pulling him into the ocean. Last week he was playing for hours joyfully in the waves (and did not fall down), now, after arriving at the beach he doesn’t even want to go close to the water (with no waves at all), not even to rinse his sticky fingers.
  • animals: the dogs, sometimes young ones, that just want to play. For a little one they are probably wild beasts that are trying to bite him (he’s just seeing the teeth, I guess) or simply want to run him over. He’s ok playing with one of our neighbours’ dogs that has the size of a cat and doesn’t bark, though.
  • unfamiliarity: strangers or unfamiliar people and places, which makes him appear rather shy.
  • unfamiliar loud noises: He’s aware and not afraid of thunder and lightning or our neighbours in party mood, but sometimes there’s an explosion when people blast a big rock that’s threatening their house or a new road is being built somewhere on our island.

All these fears I’m trying to take away by rationally explaining the reason behind them, by explaining what he can do to see for himself the things that are giving him the scare and there is actually nothing to be scared of. And by giving him hugs and kisses and telling him that mommy and daddy love him, no matter what.

But I’m aware, maybe this is just the beginning. In the future there might be some ghosts or monsters lurking under the bed or in the closet at night or the daily separation from mommy in the morning when he’s going to preschool next year. Or maybe not, maybe these things won’t bother him at all. Or there will be something else I can’t even think about right now. We shall find out and deal with it when the time comes.

What are your tots so terribly afraid of? How do you deal with those fears as parents? Please tell me.

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Posted on June 4, 2011, in 'Timan', Animals, Developmental Stages, Fears and Anxieties, Parenting, Toddler and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Do you think he’s having bad dreams? do these typically occur during nap or bedtime? My youngest has started having dreams that she wakes and tells me about.

    • He’s having long dreams more often during the night, but most of the time he’s not waking up and the dream, the talking during the dream, is quiet. He did not have a nightmare or a really bad dream so far. But after his nap he wakes up screaming sometimes, around the time he would wake up anyway. And when I ask him after he calmed down, he would tell me (e.g. someone pushing his belly). Do you think that’s a nightmare or a night terror?

  2. My little guy used to have nightmares, but then I gave him a flashlight to turn on whenever he needed more light and we haven’t had any since. I can tell you that since he was stabbed not-so-gently yesterday by a not-so-sympathetic tech at the blood lab yesterday, he is now afraid of all things medical. Sigh. Anyway, I think you’re doing the right thing just being there for him and reassuring him. I think they just need to feel secure when they have these fears.

    • Yes, you are definitely right. And I can tell you quite a story about my little one getting injections and stabbed by needles for IVs. Someone approaching him wearing plain white or plain green clothes (the ones nurses and doctors are wearing) still makes him scream because he always fears the worst. I’m sorry for your son, hopefully there will be no more needles for him in the near future. And I hope he will forget.

      • Thank-you. That’s my hope too. The body doesn’t remember pain, but it often remembers the emotion that went along with the pain. I’ll do my best to replace that memory with good memories of nurses and doctors! Best of luck with your little one too!

  3. So true – they see things differently and sometimes it’s hard to understand what they’re thinking. My son had one night where he was afraid of monsters – all of a sudden, for no reason. And then he was fine. He’s also suddenly totally scared of bugs, even though we’ve tried to act normal about bugs. We’re doing the same thing – just talking to him and moving stuff if we need to.

    • I’m just waiting until he discovers the real meaning behind the word ‘monster’, right now I believe he thinks it is a name for a funny looking animal and I’m in no hurry to change this.

  4. My tots are afraid of ME! LOL…especially when one of them manages to find my hiding place in the freezer concealing my frozen Milky Ways 🙂 My “tots” are now 10 and 13. My daughter used to be afraid of those fake Hillbilly teeth you put in your mouth as part of a costume. My son, is afraid of NOTHING! I guess he takes after me 😉 I love your blog. Thank you for visiting mine. As Arnold would say, “I will be back!”

    • Thank you so much. You make me laugh … your hiding place in the freezer. My little one knows every single thing in the fridge, he knows I store chocolate there but he doesn’t take it. Because he doesn’t like sweets. And all the savory things I store high up in a cabinet. And when he’s doing naughty, like climbing on the counter to get there, he’s also very afraid I’m catching him in the act. He’d better be. LOL.

  5. Poor kiddo. My oldest gets afraid of things sometimes too. I do my best to take away the fear and show her it’s okay.

    • And this is sometimes very difficult, because I don’t really understand why he’s for example scared of a clock, that doesn’t move and doesn’t make a sound. Maybe the clock is looking very strange and scary to him when he’s lying in his bed. I guess I will never know because I really hope he’s not going to be afraid of clocks for the rest of his life. 😉

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