Tuesday, July 13, 2010
For the past week or so, Robbie has been afraid.
I think it started when all three of the kids decided it would be fun to scare each other. They'd wait outside the bathroom or around the corner when they knew someone was headed for the family room or under the covers in the bedroom. Then, at just the right moment, they'd jump out and yell "Boo!" at the generally unsuspecting party. Although he was often on the receiving end of the scaring, Robbie dished up his own fair share of scare tactics as well.
Then late last week, they watched Batman vs. Dracula, a cartoon that I had chosen for instant streaming from Netflix. Usually, Robbie is fascinated by the topic of vampires. He's never seen Twilight or any of the sequels, but he asks Annie endless questions about them. But for some reason, Batman vs. Dracula scared the Bela Lagosi out of him.
Since then, he is afraid to go anywhere by himself. I'm not talking about going outside to play. I'm talking about going to a different room.
If I tell him to go upstairs to get his shoes, he can't because he's scared. If I ask him to get me a Diet Coke out of the garage fridge, he says its too dark in there. If I move to turn over while lying down with him at bedtime, he is instantly sitting up, asking where I'm going.
I'm trying to be sympathetic without being coddling. If he wants to go to the basement to play Legos but is afraid because it's too dark, I offer to stand at the top of the stairs and watch him as he turns the lights on. I've issued an edict that there is to be no more jumping out and scaring each other. If I'm in another room, he'll randomly call out my name. When I say "Yes, Robbie..." he says, "Oh, ok," as if he's just checking that I haven't left him alone in the house.
I feel bad for him. I also feel impatient, hoping this phase passes quickly and not entirely sure of how to help it along. So if you have any suggestions, I'm all ears.