When kids are around the age of 2, it's normal for them to develop fears, or more specifically irrational fears. My kid is really advanced, so she has developed a LOT of irrational fears. I've done a bit of reading on the subject and talked to a childhood development professor (random meeting at the library) about her fears and the general consensus is that her level of fear and reaction isn't standard, but it's not abnormal either.
I thought kids were afraid of things like monsters under the bed, the dark, and maybe stuff like thunder (makes the dog piss herself with fear, so it seemed logical). Here's an important to remember when dealing with toddlers: Logic has no place here.
Here is a list, in order of the most terrifying first, of things that make Faith lose her shit:
Flies. This mostly applies to the common housefly but basically includes any flying bug, except butterflies. Apparently Faith makes allowances for pretty things.
If a fly gets near Faith, she has a full meltdown and gets so worked up that she's almost shaking with fear. She'll start screaming "FLY! FLY! FLY!" and if she was eating, she can't even swallow her food in this state. The only thing that helps is holding her. She'll quickly calm down if held, but it takes a while before she feels safe enough to leave your lap.
Things that we've tried so far:
1. Becoming fly killing ninjas. You have no idea how angry you can get at a tiny bug until it scares your kid. Too bad I really, really suck at killing flies. Maybe I should ditch the chopsticks.
|I need to hire him as a nanny|
2. Trying to make flies "fun" or "cute". We read "A Fly Went By" at least once a day. We practice saying "Shoo fly!" This has all been pretty much worthless so far.
3. The childhood development professor suggested catching a fly in a glass jar and letting Faith approach it on her own terms. At no point in my life have I developed the right skill set for this task. So far we've only been able to show her a dead fly. Right now I would pay good money for a fly in a jar, but apparently that's not something you can just buy at Target.
Cars. This one is different from the flies fear because it's situational. If Faith is in her stroller, cars don't bother her a bit, but if she is walking or playing, a car driving by is a HUGE issue. She has a pretty extreme panic reaction to it and has to RUN away to a "safe" spot or tries to climb up into my arms. It's gotten to the point where we can't even play in the driveway anymore and we live on a pretty quiet street. It's not just seeing a car, it's also the noise the cars make when they drive by, so the backyard hasn't been working out favorably either.
She even gets concerned if she hears car noise inside the house, and the dumbass dog makes it worse because she's like "I HELP! I BARK!" which only seems to confirm for Faith that there is something worth fearing.
|Fedex men fear me!|
Unlike the fear of flies, I've noticed improvement with this fear. Sure, she is still a long way from holding my hand in a parking lot instead of needing to be held, but that will surely come with time (or I'll just keep parking next to the shopping cart drop-offs to avoid having to carry THIS across a parking lot).
|Mommy, are you calling me fat?|
Other small children. This fear isn't as consistent as the flies or the cars, but I sure wouldn't characterize her as comfortable around her peers. She has a large personal "bubble" and in general she's ok as long as other kids don't get too close. She is happy at Wiggle Giggle time at the library and I hear reports of happiness from her school, but when I take her to the playground, this is what I get:
|It's way too hot for this level of attachment|
She acts like I'm trying to encourage her to play in the tiger cage at the zoo. The playground wasn't even crowded today, but I wasn't able to get her to do anything other than go in the swing (apparently that's a safe spot). I also got her to walk back to the car on her own, which is forward progress because she had to walk past cars and other children.
Everything I read tells me we have to just wait this out and in time she will learn to cope with her fears. It's really funny when I take her to my doctor appointments and she pats my hand and tells me "It's ok, it's ok" when they take my blood pressure, so she is obviously paying attention to me when I try to comfort her. She also apparently thinks the blood pressure cuff is fear worthy, so I'm glad kids don't need to get that checked.
There are so many parts of parenting that I expected, like getting pooped on, but I never really thought about dealing with these kind of fears. I always thought it would be stuff like a monster under the bed and I could just tell Faith that my husband could scare it away (see how that allows me to stay in bed? I'm a genius).
I hope that I can look back at this post in a few months and laugh about how Faith used to be afraid of these things. At the very least, the winter will fix this whole fly issue.
Do you have any "irrational" fears? I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of cats. I grew up with a really mean one and even years of working in an animal hospital have not helped (I got bit a lot on the job). If I'm at someone's house and their cat gets near me, I get nervous despite the fact that I logically know that some cats are nice.