To fully appreciate this post you should read this first
So my son, A is almost three and like most little kids, he has some fears. Like most little kids he is not scared to try to stick a wet finger into a wall socket or walk out in front of fast-moving cars and he is wary about ghosts, the dark, monsters and large dogs rushing towards him at the playground. Here's a list of his other fears:
sand on his feet
having his hair washed
his little red plastic octopus
the man who delivered the groceries that time I shopped online
and my personal favourite, the letter B
Now I 'get' most of these things- you can rationalize why each disturbs him. The octopus for instance, it's pretty ugly and whereas 'A' doesn't want to throw it out, he doesn't want to see it either so he hides it. And considering the octopus's likeness to a spider and considering my own obsessive revulsion with spiders, well, let's just say there's no happy ending when I reach under the sofa for a stray sock and am surprised by the eight-armed menace. Or when I open the fridge late at night to find it waiting for me. Or when I pull back my covers to find the octopus getting fresh with my pyjamas.
I get the beetle thing too -and sad to say my husband M and I have likely embellished that fear a bit by using 'the giant beetle' concept as a tool to get 'A' to do something when he doesn't want to. Like come in from the garden "Uh oh! There's a giant beetle coming". Or there was that time that I really needed to put 'A' off from going into a decrepit playground that he really really wanted to play in...."Quick, run, a beetle lives there!"
Even the letter B has a logical explanation. A friend gave us a DVD that helped her kids to learn the phonetic alphabet and to cut a long story short, during this animated show, a monster pops up right at the letter B, and 'A' really doesn't like it. When he begs to watch "just a little bit of TV" I only have to wave the DVD at him and he starts to freak out, begging to go to his room and play quietly. Not just play, play quietly.
The nagging worry at the back of my mind is that my own ridiculous litany of fears has been delivered genetically to this poor little guy in utero. Or maybe not- maybe he is simply a fast learner, spending his days observing my oddities. Or perhaps 'A' is just three? Consider this: one of his biggest fears at the moment is ghosts. "There's a ghosty in my room" he'll cry, trembling and quaking until I go into his room 'de-ghost' it. So today I asked him what a ghost looked like and he went out to prepare, and I reached for my camera.
Yeah, he's just three.