Things That Go Bump In The NightJuly 11th, 2012
We’ve entered the phase in toddlerland where scary things have become scary. It seems to have happened over night, quite literally.
One day, we were out in the yard, gardening, playing, picking up bugs. Everly was giggling at the ants, chasing the beetles and looking at the intricacy of spider webs. Not big bug lovers ourselves, the hubs and I knew we had to grin and bare it. We didn’t want her to become unreasonably afraid of the critters like we are so, despite my desire to scream bloody murder and run when asked to pick up a spider, I held my breath and did the right thing – I showed her the spider, up close, and didn’t bat an eye.
Apparently this was all for not because nature vs. nurture abounds, and she developed this fear anyway. A Twitter friend Laura told me that along with not wanting to eat like, anything at all, this stage is perfectly normal. It turns out that back in the days of yore (like a long long time ago) children were left to fend for themselves starting somewhere around the 2.5 mark and as such, evolved to fear the unknown. That makes sense for when you’re living in the forest trying to determine which leafy green to nom, but in present day society, it create problems. Problems such as an overwhelming fear of everyday bugs…and chicken nuggets.
I’m going to move right past the entire food thing, because that’s a post in and of itself, and onto the bugs. She was gleefully playing along with them one day, and the next, shrill screams of holy terror at the mere sight of a harmless ant. It was, confusing. However I’ve learned that everything about toddlers is confusing so, I just accepted it.
It wasn’t a big deal. Sure I had to carry her over any area there was a bug sighting, and yes she made daddy sweep everything that looked like it might have some relation to a spider web up outside. Yes there was the 25 minute attempt to catch a fruit fly before she’d get in the bath that one time, and let’s not forget the throwing herself onto the pavement in order to avoid a leaf which moved and potentially resembled a bug. A lot of that was cute, if not a bit sad, but overall was no big deal. She was still happy to watch shows with bugs….make that OBSESSED with watching shows with bugs (know your enemy I suppose) and it wasn’t effecting our day to day lives… until it was.
Cue screaming toddler from the the other room at say, 3:00am.
“DADDY DADDY A BUUG A BUUG ON ME IN MAH BED A BUUG!!!!!!!!! ON MAH ARM A FLY SPIDER ON MAH ARM DADDY DADDY DADDY!!!!”
And so on and so forth for all of eternity.
Granted, she’s acquired a number of viscous mosquito bites in her sleep and, the way her body reacts, she’s needed immediate attention. That said, it’s never the “mosquibbos” she cries about, and frankly I just don’t think that’s what is waking her up. She’s just, afraid of the things that go bump in the night. And the ones which buzz, and crawl, and sometimes don’t exist anywhere but her brain.
It’s not that I mind attending to my scared child in the night, because despite the fact I’d prefer we all just sleep soundly, I’m not callous enough to disregard my toddlers fears. The problem is that, rationalizing with a toddler ever, and especially at 3 in the morning, just isn’t possible. She is upset, she is afraid and she is losing her ever loving mind. We comfort, we explain, we attempt to soothe, it does nothing. She is just too worked up.
A few weeks back, we were having a “monster in my closet” issue. It was brief (though I suspect it will return) and in a pinch, I used a bottle of kid’s insect repellent as anti-monster spray, and fake sprayed it all around her room, the doors and the bed. And it worked. She thanked me, and went back to sleep. She still talks about it, and sometimes, we refresh the spray for safe measure.
Last night, was a HUGE meltdown. Over an hour of hysterics which, started with an “I have to pee” and ended with a “there are bugs in mah hair! Somethings on my FACE! BUUUGS!”. It was, something. I contemplated shaving her head but, it seemed like an extreme measure for a few more hours of sleep. Finally it dawned on me, and I once again retrieved the spray. And, it worked. This was after daddy had spent an infuriating hour trying to comfort a kicking child in the middle of the night, and we’d left her to calm down in hopes that she’d tire out, because she hadn’t articulated any fears. Confusing things are confusing.
The problem with the bug spray is that I don’t want to liberally spread it all over my house, so I’m fake spraying. She’s not dumb enough to fall for that for long, not to mention I do want to use said bug spray on her body at some point, and I don’t want to have to explain that to her either. Also, I can’t allow her to help “make” the spray or even spray it, because I don’t want her to ingest chemicals.
The solution? Make my own. With the help of my crafty friend, I introduce “Everly’s Go Away Spray”.
I am hopeful this will help her, at least to some extent.
What have you done to mange the night terrors and fearful 2′s stage? I could probably use some other advice.