Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fear Factor

Because my kids have cornered the market on weirdness, I often jump at the opportunity to share incidents of their normality.  Or in this case, of my own strangeness.

In the last week we've seen evidence of budding fears in my boys' minds.  After an attempt to give Graham a piggy back ride ended in tears and a tuft of my hair ripped out at the root, we discovered that our youngest is afraid of heights.  He also fears being carried on the deck or on stairs, but all of those fears are relatively common, and while I will do what I can to encourage his trust in me, I am confident he will grow out of them.

On the 4th of July, Cael had a sudden panic attack when faced with the prospect of seeing fireworks.  Regardless of the fact that we've watched them twice each summer for his entire life, something in his brain registered fear at that loud boom in the sky, while his brother lit up in anticipation.

So what was wrong with me?  As a child, I remember clearly my biggest fears, and none were as common as those that torment my boys.  Grasshoppers were terrifying.  Bike spokes with those clicking plastic beads spread goosebumps across my skin.  But there was one thing more terrifying than bike spokes and grasshoppers and fireworks and heights.

These two.

If you ever watched kids' programming in the 80's, you probably saw Sesame Street, because fledgling networks like Nickelodeon were just getting started and didn't offer much to a young child.  And if you did watch Sesame Street, there's no doubt you remember the "Yip-Yips", two aliens with googly white eyes, very little English skills and no ability to adapt to life on Earth (save for a relentless desire to chat on the phone).

They were horrifying, their gaping jaws certainly ready to devour me and their pipe cleaner antennae surely capable of stinging or poisoning a small child.  I would hide behind the recliner until that segment of the show was over and slowly crawl back to the sofa, wishing for fireworks or a tall building to jump from should the martians reappear.

Even now, as I gathered the photos and video clips for this post, I got chills thinking of how terrifying those puppets felt.  So I'm going to do my best to be patient with the kids as they learn to deal with being scared and to be grateful that they are exceedingly normal in this one regard.  I guess that's one less thing for me to fear.

"Ahhh... Mommy!  Cael is shaking the maracas.  HE'S SHAKING THE MARACAS!!!"

Anyone know a good therapist?

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Leave your own "ism". Cael and Graham double-dog dare you.