08 October 2009

in their own terms

Everyone probably has this inexplicable fear of something --heights, spiders, cockroaches--you name it. My little one has this strange fear of alarm clocks.

We had a digital one last month, the numbers colored and all. But far from being amused, the little one was totally afraid of it. He was so scared that he had to dock his head every time he passed through the side table drawer where it stood. Lakay had to hide the clock in a corner and go through the hassle of pulling the plug in the morning so it would stop terrorizing the little one every time he would look at it (which he always did since the day that clock was placed there).

Because I couldn't stand seeing him afraid like this, I finally decided to get rid of that clock.

But Lakay just had to buy a new one today, being anal that he is. In fairness to him, he made an effort to find something that couldn't possibly terrorize a little boy. He finally settled with a plain black round clock which now stands in the same corner where the old one once stood.

When we were about to go to bed, the little one noticed this new creature sticking out on the side table drawer. When I told him that that is our new alarm clock, his eyes was once again filled with fear.

Not wanting him to end up running away from his fears, I told him that he should learn how to face them. I said, "If you're afraid of something, just say, 'Grrr, I am not afraid of you!'" He then comically followed and said instead: "Grrr, I AM afraid of you." Of course he got some tickling after that.

Seeing that he can now joke about it, I simply thought that that fear was settled. So we went on with our routine: bedtime story, prayer, sing lullaby. Somewhere in between, he suddenly turned quiet and then said something that took me by surprise:

If you're afraid of something, just say 'Mummy, I'm scared.

For a moment, I didn't get what he was trying to say. And then he added, "I'm scared of the alarm clock. I want you to hide it."

After a lot of effort of trying to assuage his fears, I finally came up with this silly idea of re-naming this object of fear by saying that it's just a clock, not an alarm clock. I think I convinced him (for now), because after that, he finally went to sleep.

What did I learn from my son today?

I learned that, yes, I shouldn't protect him from his fears...BUT if I want to be a good mom, I should also respect his own time, his own pace. What I tried to do today was rush him into it. I was too aggressive that I put words into his mouth. I was being one of those stupid adults who simply dismiss children's fears as nonsense.

Meanwhile, I must think of a good excuse I can give as soon as that dreaded alarm sets off tomorrow morning.

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