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.