Monday, September 29, 2008

The downside of an active imagination...

One of the reasons I love listening to J talk these days is because he's developed quite an imagination. He plays little games by himself that I can't quite decipher, involving "1-2-3 blast off!" and "Run from the dolphins!" (??). He's starting to enjoy dress-up games where he wears different hats or his blankie is a cape -- I know, I know, I'm probably going to regret that when we're out in public and he's wearing a tattered baby blanket around his neck and a black cowboy hat, but he's still small enough for that to be cute, not weird, right? I'll ask him questions about every day things, and he makes up cool answers. For instance, he pointed out that the sun was going down, and when I asked where it was going, he replied "Into his garage." Or he'll tell me that he's going on a train to see the animals at the "zoom," and then he'll be a pirate. Hey, makes sense to me. Well, to him anyway.

But there is a downside to an active imagination. J has developed a number of fears over the past couple of weeks, both rational and irrational. He's starting to notice when it's getting dark, and suddenly he doesn't want to go up the stairs to his room if "it's dark up there." Up until now, he's been used to a pretty much pitch black room for sleeping at night because even the light from his baby monitor would keep him up. Now we've had to buy a nightlight and on some nights leave the door open because he'll start crying and even screaming about his room being dark.

Last week we had to trim the trees in the front yard, and we had branches bundled up in the garage for trash pick-up this week. The first time we had to go into the garage with those branches J stopped dead in his tracks in the doorway and immediately started climbing up my legs and crying about the "scary trees in there." To the point where we had to back the car out of the garage and go around through the front door just so we wouldn't pass the "trees." The worst episode, however, was over the weekend when we went to Best Buy to look at computers and J randomly decided they were scary and proceeded to throw a major screaming fit about going down the aisle with the computers. And it wasn't a spoiled-brat tantrum -- he was really acting scared, screaming for TH not to let the computers touch him and clutching my neck so hard he left red marks on me.

I'm a little stumped as to how to respond to some of this. On the one hand, I don't want to encourage a fear of every day things, and I know I can't always avoid things because they're "scary." On the other hand, it really wrenches my heart to hear his scared screaming because it's very different than anything he's done before, and he truly seems terrified. I wish I could describe the look on his face when he was trying not to go near those computers, it was heartbreaking. Hopefully like everything else this will be just a phase.


deebo47 said...

This is one thing that I can say for sure will pass. X-man is 8 now, but when he was 2-3 years old he had a ton of fears, some of which made sense and some of which didn't. He was afraid of the vacuum cleaner, the garbage truck, a spray bottle with water in it (?), and other things that I can't even remember now. And that's the point - one day he'll outgrow all of it and you won't even be able to remember what it was like to have to avoid the computer aisle at the store.

LauraC said...

Yeah this sounds like Alex right now. We have no idea what he will be afraid of, but we can pretty much depend on him being afraid of something. He's been afraid of:

Band-aids. On other people.

The robot at the beginning of Cars.

He freaked watching Barnyard bc the black cow was so SCARY!


Zipper pajamas

Oh yeah it's going to be awesome staying in a house with a dog and flying in an airplane next week.