Saturday, October 17, 2009

Big Scary World!

My little boy has realized that he lives in a big scary world. The same things that once elicited joy and laughter are now terrifying. These frightening things include:

Dancing bears playing the violin on his baby Einstein DVD
Images of a lawn mower
Counting to three

Yes, I said counting to three. I think this is because I always count to three before I make a scary noise like the food processor or the vacuum that way he is prepared for the sound and thinks something fun is about to happen. Well, those fun things like the food processor and vacuum cleaner are not so fun anymore. Counting to three now makes him think that something really scary is going to happen.

Poor Poor boy.

We had a night of worship tonight at church. I went with him into the room where it was mostly big kids playing with balls and such. He was very uncomfortable so I stayed and played with him for a little bit. It was so cute, there was a very nice lady in there trying to play with Levi but you could see the terror in his eyes. Sometimes he would look at her and just cry, then other times he would look at her and do a really uncomfortable laugh - like he was trying to be brave but he really wanted to cry. He really was trying hard, poor little guy. Once I felt like he was comfortable I slipped away. I peeked in on him through the window and saw that same lady was holding him and he had his pacifier. (I only give him his pacifier when he sleeps) I was not upset that they gave him his paci, I was just upset that he [thought] needed it. I took a pager with me and toward the end of the service it went off. I went back and the same lady was holding him and he had stopped crying, but I could tell he had been crying hard because he was doing those involuntary heaves that you do after you finish a bad cry. Poor boy.

I don't know what to do about this new fear. I don't know whether to scoop him up right away and let him know that he's safe and cuddle him and hold him close. I don't know if I should distract him or try to make the scary thing funny. I don't know if cuddling him and soothing him will encourage the fear - or confirm his belief that the object of his fear is indeed something to be afraid of. I talked to a parent who I admire very much at church tonight who said she's been auditing a lot of family counseling classes at the seminary and says she wishes she would have done differently with her first three children. She suggested scooping Levi up and reassuring him, and making sure he knows he's safe with momma. She said all the stuff that she learned about attachment and security issues have convinced her that this is the best way to handle the situation and that she wishes she could go back and hold her other three children just a little more.

Maybe I should head her advice. I don't know. I just don't want my boy to be afraid. Any suggestions? Know how long this will last?

P.S. If you see Levi and he is frightened by you, please don't be offended.


MelissaKeaster said...

I would be cautious with any attachment parenting advice. It doesn't really have a place in our culture, but honestly, if you want to pick him up and cuddle him and reassure him that's your prerogative because you're his mommy! Be sure to pass on any advice about this once you've figured it out. I don't think Micah is far behind Levi in this. The vacuum, food processor, coffee grinder and clanging pots and pans are already a problem. The stranger danger is quickly approaching too. I can tell.

Aaron and April said...

I try to reassure Michael that there's nothing scary about things by letting him check them out. I try to vaccuum when he's napping just because it's easier than trying to keep an eye on him at the same time. When I have to do it when he's up, I let him check it out, touch it, even push it. When I turn it on, if he's still scared I talk to him about it and will pick him up if he's still scared.

As far as seperation anxiety, which is what sounds like was going on with Levi, you have to drop them and leave. I know it sounds cruel but the longer you stay the worse it is for them. I've seen a lot of this at work and the crazy thing is that a lot of it is for show and they are perfectly fine once you leave. It's actually harder on us than it is on them.


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