I actually had a post in mind for last week and then, well, yes, see above. But since the post was not time-sensitive, it should do for this week. The topic is fear, toddler fear. Not fear of toddlers (although goodness knows there are times when they scare me) but rather fears that toddlers have.
I don’t know about your kids, but mine fear some interesting things. They are scared of dogs (not entirely irrational, except that they have never had a negative interaction with a canine), cats, bugs, butterflies (!), grass (!!), having their toenails cut (!!!), and having their hair cut. The other day, Riley looked at the clock in the playroom—the same clock that has been hanging in the playroom his entire life—became wide-eyed, crept onto my lap, and announced, “I no like that clock, Mama. I scared.” ?????
With the exception of the clock, the common thread that I can find among Maddie and Riley’s fears is a lack of control. They love the idea of dogs and cats, and will enthusiastically wave at them from across the street and even express interest in petting them. But as soon as the animal approaches them rather than vice-versa, it’s all over. The tears pour down and the pitiful cries of, “No doggie hurt Riley! No doggie hurt Maddie!” begin. Same thing with the hair and toenail cutting. They like to cut my hair and toenails, or Elmo’s. But when I wield the scissors or clippers? NO WAY. They’ll walk on grass, but if it brushes into their stroller, unannounced, when out on a walk? Let the panic ensue!
Their fears seem to be contagious; if Riley decides he’s afraid of something, Maddie will inevitably follow suit. I wish it worked the other way: one expresses a fear and the other reassures. Alas, no. I do a lot of reassuring—what else can I do? But it seems to fall mostly on deaf ears. As near as I can tell, I just have to be patient and wait for them to outgrow their unusual (to me) concerns. I’ll admit that it can be frustrating; there are a few friends we can’t visit because Maddie and Riley are so fearful of dogs and there is not a place to secure the dog when we come over. We make do by hosting those folks rather than going to them, but I hope that someday it won’t be an issue.
What unusual things do your toddlers fear? How do you handle it?