My daughter is suddenly afraid. Silly, crazy, irrational fears but they are obviously very, very real to her. And it breaks my heart. I know this is a normal phase of development – she is becoming aware of herself in the world, her imagination is growing and running wild. These are good things. These are the things that will ultimately lead her to be a confident, creative person who is sure of her place in the world.
But there is this part of me that is a little bit worried.
When she started insisting that she could only sleep with the lights on – and I mean ALL of the lights on – that was a little annoying. But kids get scared of the dark, right. We didn’t make a big deal of it and she sleeps just fine with the lights on. But this bathtub thing is a much bigger thing. Yes, she allowed Raymond to wash her hair in the sink the other night. Baby steps I guess. I can’t imagine she won’t find her way back to the bathtub eventually. . .
Then last night at dinner, she suddenly turned to me and said, in a very worried tone of voice “Are my teeth turning yellow??” I assured her that her teeth were beautiful and white, but she got very upset and insisted that she had to brush them right away. When I suggested that we wait until she had finished eating, she burst into tears. So I let her brush her teeth. In the middle of dinner. No big deal, right?
Everything I have read says to be calm and understanding with children when they have these irrational fears, not to force them into situations or belittle their anxiety. And not to worry until the behavior has been going on for 8 weeks or so. We are far from that. So I should just relax.
I’m trying to just relax.
It is really, really hard to relax when a 3 year old is sobbing at the dinner table about her teeth turning yellow.
My beautiful daughter is not crazy. She is a perfectly normal three year old in a perfectly normal phase. A perfectly normal phase that, if it goes on for too long, just might make her not so normal Mama completely, truly, totally crazy!