Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Fears

I've blogged before about what a sensitive little kid Hamlet is. Recently, though, it's been cropping up more frequently: a function more of his age, I think, than any other factor. I'm just thankful that a year of speech therapy gave him the ability to express himself.

It started with his first ever story: "Monsters and creatures are out there. They have sharp teeth and sharp claws. And they're COMING TO GETCHA!" (I swear, we have not been letting him watch our movies. I think we may have discussed The Descent in front of him once, but only in oblique terms. Really.)

More details have been added to the monsters and creatures; monsters resemble dinosaurs, while creatures resemble foliage (he'll point to bushes and tell us they're creatures). Meanwhile, he's found other things to be afraid of: the branch that fell on our roof from a tree, the bee that stung him at this one particular neighbor's house. Someday I need to call her and tell her why we haven't been over for playdates.

Interestingly, we can never tell what he's likely to be afraid of. Some things he would rather meet head on, like monsters and creatures. And Corpse Bride. Others send him into a tailspin. Our way of helping him deal with it? Stories. We tell him, for instance, that Mama Branch gave all the little branches their bath and put them to sleep already, so they won't fall on our roof anymore. (We cross our fingers while we tell him this.) Next up will be the story of a forklift, which he loved watching until it started heading in our direction.

It's quite fascinating to me to realize that he's learning, even at 3, how to deal with nightmares the same way people have dealt with them for millenia: by telling stories that take the edge off, that remind us it is often within our power to exorcise the demons. Although he's a very hands-on kid, he's started to come up to me while I'm writing to ask me: "Mama, are those words you're making? Are those letters?" Yes, they are. Me putting my own fears to rest, most likely. I think I may have found the thing I need to get me through these next few weeks of uselessness. It all comes back to the stories, doesn't it?

7 Comments:

Blogger Meg said...

"Uselessness"?!?!?!

It only *feels* useless. It isn't, I promise. (OK, I swear.) You're cooler than you think.

Give Hamlet a hug for me!

31/10/06 1:38 PM  
Blogger Mary Louisa said...

What a wonderful post today. It sounds like Hamlet has a true gift with words, much like his mom. I hope both of you continue to pursue those stories (and allay those fears).

1/11/06 11:40 PM  
Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

It's true you never know what children will be afraid of. Some kids are afraid of clowns. As a child, I had a recurring nightmare involving a "cartoonish" character.

It is interesting to see how different people react to different things.

4/11/06 10:23 AM  
Blogger pattinase (abbott) said...

Christa-I didnt't know you had a blog until I saw Sandra's post. I'll be back to read more.

4/11/06 1:32 PM  
Blogger M. G. Tarquini said...

Harlequin clowns scared me as a kid. They still make me nervous.

4/11/06 3:03 PM  
Blogger anne frasier said...

aw, poor little guy!

my son was terrified of unusual and unpredictable things. one i remember was a little colorful cartoon on ... i think it was sesame street. it was just a small filler clip of pretty balls going through a pinball machine. happy music played while the balls looped around. it gave neil the old shuddering-breath-terror. he would actually freeze, unable to move. when he got older he remembered the fear, but could never explain it.

4/11/06 5:16 PM  
Blogger Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

My 8 year-old is into spooky stories, the Universal movie monsters, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, etc. On Halloween night, we went to a haunted house put on by our town's fire department, and Rowan absolutely FREAKED OUT. It was just some fake cobwebs, strobe lights, dry ice and firemen in costumes, but it scared the hell out of her. She kept her face buried in my sweater and I had to drag/carry her out. Rowan was embarrassed and I'll admit I handled it badly and snapped at her because I was embarrassed too.

My biggest fear as a child? Forget about ghosts, monsters, spiders, snakes, the dark. Yeah, all those things made me nervous, but what really scared the living bejeezus out of my was my parents.

4/11/06 7:14 PM  

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