Fears

January 21, 2009

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Over the last few months, we have noticed some changes in Sarah. We have always called her our little dare devil because she seemed to have no fear. She is our thrill seeker of a child, she loves all things fast and high, she loves to go right up to animals of any kind, large or small. Quite honestly, she has always shocked both Pat and I with her lack of fear.

Even though all these things are still true, It seems we are facing the first thing that Sarah is fearful of......{well, maybe the second thing, how could I forget about Santa, otherwise known as The Scary Man}

The Dark!!

I am going to say it was sometime in November that she started showing signs. One evening, out of nowhere, she started talking about Monsters, but not just any monster, cookie monster!! At first I didn't think to much of it, after all she loved cookie monster, but the more she talked, I realized she was trying to tell us not to enter the dark room because there was a monster in there, cookie monster to be exact!!

I started to think that maybe all the Halloween talk of ghouls and ghosts were the cause of her monster talk and with any luck as we moved into the new holiday season the monster talk would stop.

It didn't, in fact it has gotten much worse and it doesn't seem to be monsters that are scaring her, it is the darkness. In the evenings if I am in one room downstairs and Pat is in another room, she will not walk from room to room unless everything is completely lit up.......She will scream....IT'S SCARY MOMMY and make us turn on every light in the house. If we turn something off, she will go back over and turn it on and tell us LIGHTS ON.

Now, I know this is a common age for Night Terrors, but we have not experienced that, at least I don't think that we have. She has woken up once or twice and pointed at the shadows from the trees and the lighted sensors that work with our security system but never full out violent screams and thrashing like I have read that is common with night terrors. On the occasions that she did wake up, Pat picked her up and walked her over to the window to show her where the shadows were coming from and the same thing with the lights on the detectors. She seemed to understand and it has not happened since.

Although, she is not waking up in the middle of the night, the monster talk and scared of walking through dark rooms in our house is constant. We have been trying to reassure her that there are no monsters living in this house, not even a Cookie Monster.......one might beg to differ if they see Pat and Nick once Girl Scout Cookies are delivered, but that is a story for another day......

When Nick was little he had lots of fears, but never of the dark or monsters, so this is a new one for us. Besides consoling her and keeping our rooms lit up, what else can we do to get her over this fear?? Have any of your children gone through this and what did you do to help put their minds at ease? I would love to hear thoughts and suggestions from those who have traveled down this road.


41 comments:

Julia said...

To this day my 11.5 year old still sleeps with a night light and MUST have her closet doors closed, they freak her out if they're open. So Sarah's fears may never truly dissolve, but I think just reassuring her along the way will help them lessen. I LOVE that close up of her, she's such a beautiful little girl!

a Tonggu Momma said...

You might want to try the Tongginator's patented Monster Go Away Spray. Decorate a spray bottle mister. Fill it with Magic Monster Go Away Solution (otherwise known as H2O), then spray in the room as needed. Worked like a charm for us.

The Tongginator's bestest friend Cinnamon, however, required more potent magic. She required the Monster Go Away Spray as well as a little stuffed animal dragon under her pillow. This dragon not only helped chase away monsters when she was awake, it helped to chase away the monsters in her dreams.

CC said...

Aw hugs! My kids are scared of lots of things too. But you know what really helps....they sleep in the same room. That comforts them a lot. Make sure Sarah's future sibling gets to sleep with her!!

Suzie said...

I don't have any advice as I am still waiting to be a mom but I'm sorry that Sarah is having these fears :o(

That is a beautiful photo of her.

Isabella's Mommy and Daddy said...

I dont really have any advice either... my kids were not afraid of the dark..
Love the Monster Go Away spray..
that is cute..
Hugs..
Sorry to hear this..
Have a great evening..

Amy said...

I don't have any advice (sorry), but I would like to say that the picture of Sarah in this post is gorgeous!:)

(((BIG ENCOURAGING HUGS!)))
Amy:)

Marla said...

Love Tonggu Momma's suggestion!! Very cute.

Jack is still very much in the afraid of the dark stage, which started out of nowhere last fall. We now leave his closet light on with the door cracked (a night light wasn't enough for him), and we leave his bedroom door open (we closed it before). He also sleeps with an entire army of little animals, which I think helps him feel more protected.

I'm sorry she's scared, I hate it when they're afraid of something. :( Adorable pic, by the way!

Sherri said...

Ahhhh, poor Sarah. When Jade came home from China she slept in her room in the pitch dark, then she turned 3 and became scared of the dark. We keep her door open and the hall light on until she's asleep. It's funny because she sleeps with her head totally under the covers....in the dark.

Good luck finding what works. Maybe it will be easy and she'll just need a stuffed animal to hold.

Our Complete Family said...

I have read a bunch about the spray bottles to spray, like Tonggu Momma spoke of.
Bryce has one of those turtle that give off a star show on the ceiling. They also have ladybug ones.
How about giving Miss Sarah a flashlight, too? We had to do that with Bryce. It was one of those ones when you click the button the animals face opens and the light comes on. I think it was Fisher Price maybe? He still has a flashlight hanging on the hat rack above his bed to this day! And we still use the turtle in his room on some nights when he needs a bit of extra soothing.
We also went to Build a Bear when he was little and made a bear with Jason and my voice that he could click to hear whenever he needed to.
I hope Sarah's fears ease away soon. I know it's hard as a parent to see them so upset.
Hugs, Les

Jboo said...

Oh my - so sorry to hear that sweet Sarah has been having Monster/dark fears. We use night lights all over the house even though Maddy has not said she's really afraid of the dark, she makes sure to have a night light on in her room and ours too and the hallway.

Hope you have a great weekend.

Janet

MandM Mommy said...

Poor Sarah! My 2 year old (almost 3 as she likes to remind me) is scared of the dark. We have a dimmer switch on the chandelier in her room and she lets us dim it so we don't have to keep the lamp on. My 6 year recently started being afraid of the dark and few other things. She won't go upstairs on her own (I can't blame her, when I'm alone, I hole up in my room) and wants the dimmer on her light as well. Love the monster spray idea.

Kate said...

Lia has had fears pop up and then go away a few times. She is getting to the age now that I can rationally explain that monsters are just made up...but previously, I very non-chalantly explained that I just don't allow monsters in the house. That's it...they're not allowed in!!! I like the idea of the spray bottle...That Tonngu Momma is one smart lady!!!

I hope little Sarah overcomes these fears soon....

Kate

Holladay Family said...

My three year old gets these types of fears too. We just keep the lights on (we have dimmer switches) and we tell him that he can talk to the Monsters. We basically tell him to say, "NO, NO MONSTER! GO AWAY!" He actually has kindof shifted from fear to enjoying the pretend aspect of it. Now he says there are pirates or whatever and we pretend to be scared. I usually say, "Are we scared?" or "Should we be scared?" and he will either act like a monster or say, "No, it is just me!" I find it is a usual phase for most kids (but some kids experience it on a deeper lever) and it usually self resolves. I highly recommend the book, "My monster mama loves me so" or others that make monsters seem cute, not scary. My last suggestion is let her watch the movie "Monsters inc." Good luck! ;)

Jodee Leader said...

Poor little Sarah! We keep the bathroom light on until both kids are asleep. You could maybe peek in the closet and under the bed to reassure her that Cookie Monster isn't hanging out there!

Carol VR said...

My husband would tell you he is still afraid of the dark and that is no joke.

Dawn S. said...

I am not the one to dispense advice at ALL but I have noticed my 4 and 6 YO nieces are frantic if there aren't enough night-lights on! I do think it is an age thing...

Jennifer said...

Matthew is 7 and is still afraid of the dark, especially at bed time. He says he has scary dreams. Soo I am probably not much help :( I wish I would have known about the monster spray...cute! Happy Friday :)

Jen

Deb and Kevin said...

We had some issues with the dark when going to bed. For the longest time Lotus was fine, then around Oct Nov she started to sleep with a small light on, night light wasn't good enough. Well that was growing old, so we bought Lotus a Twlight Lady Bug (by Cloud B) that shines the constellation on the ceiling. The company has a turtle and a few other animals,she picked out the lady bug. They are stuff animals with a hard back for the lights. It has helped ALOT. She will cuddle with her "BUG" at night and it is bright enough to help with her fears but not too bright that she cannot sleep.It also turns off after about 45 minutes. Might be worth a shot.

Kerry said...

I think Sarah's fear is quite common. My Gracie is/was the same way.

We too used Monster Spray, which she really loved at3/4 and now just laughs about at 5. But still it works. And we have a nightlight and my girls have always slept with classical music on. They seem to be calmed by the music. Oh and about 30 stuffed friends around her in bed!
All the best with this new stage. So hard when our little ones do not sleep well.
Hugs to Sarah. Your photo of her is gorgeous.

Meredith Teagarden said...

This was normal for some of my kids too. we were very strict about any type of scary things being viewed, but some kids just seem extra sensitive. Let us know how it goes.

Shelly and Family said...

Oh Lisa...none of our kiddos so far has had this fear (Annabelle is still only 21 months) but I used to be very afraid of the dark. The way my mom dealth with it was to leave ligths on for me. I remember going to bed...and sharing a room with my older sister...and still needing my mom to leave the hall light on for me along with a nightlite on in the bathroom for me all night long. I don't think I ever grew out of that fear. I ONLY sleep in the dark when Keith is home (when he is gone my TV is on all night long) and I leave a light on above our stove and kitchen sink all night long too and our back yard is lite up like the 4th of July all night long. My advice...just talk the her and let her know that you will leave some lights on for her. I am almost 37 years old and I still don't like the dark.

Lisa said...

Hey Lisa, my son went through some of this too. It always started around halloween...thankfully he grew out of it...but he still wants someone down in the basement with him or if he wakes up before everyone he turns all of the lights on and usually wakes up his sister.

I'm sure sweet Sarah will grow out of it too. I love the monster go away spray idea!

Tobi said...

I found your blog through Shell in your Pocket. Your blog is great!

Here's my two cents. Irrational fears are VERY normal for this age. My own little princess is afraid of flies and spiders. She breaks down into tears if she even sees one. I just hold and reassure her that things are all right. Eventually my princess and your Sarah will grow out of their fears on their own. But at least we will still have the memories of all the times they shrieked, Momma! SAVE ME!

Steffie B. said...

Sophia went through this, and I find that Halloween always brings it up again. She has night lights in her room because this is where the dark seemed to bother her the most. For a while I left the hallway light on...then just added more nightlights in her room. She has 3.....but I always tell her that we are safe in our home and in our beds....she will repeat that to me often....it seems to reassure her.....hopefully this will pass intime with Sarah.....just tell her she is safe.....good luck....

Hugs,
Steffie

Anonymous said...

Buy her her very own kids flashlight. She can walk from room to room with it or anywhere in the house and have her light that the "monsters" are scared of.
It worked for me with one of my twins.
Good Luck :)
Angie H

LuLu said...

My first visit to your blog, will be back again, just loved it. One of my daughters is afraid to go upstairs by herself day or night (just started last 6 months) and when she askes someone to go with her we do, I have been to afraid o make a big deal about it thinking it will get worse if I do, so I pretend it's a comman thing and are she will outgrow it. She sleeps fine at night in the dark though but she also sleeps with her sister. Probable not much help, but you are not alone.
LuLu

Mari said...

Hi! I'm here from Shells in my pocket. Your blog is great! I love your blog design and your photography is wonderful! I'll be back!

Colleen said...

Addison is afraid of the dark and afraid of Monsters!!!! Addison sleeps with her closet light on and a nightlight. The nightlight has magic powers...it keeps all evil away. We also have to pull out the magic wand every now and then. We swirl around the room with our magic wand and sprinkle happiness in our room. I never say it will keep monster's away because that would go against every thing I tell her...that monsters are not real.
Poor Sarah...I know Addison really gets afraid and it's so sad.

Stacey @ The Blessed Nest said...

My kids use a night light. 3 actually. One in their room. One in the bedroom (upstairs) hallway, and one in their bathroom. It helps them feel better, and it saves us from flicking on a too bright switch if they need us during the night! Also good if they need the potty during the night. Their door is left open also. We take one with us when we travel too. Helps a lot!
I don't think it's night terrors she's haveing. She would be screaming and the next day wouldn't remember anything. My youngest had those, and it was a scary thing.
I would suggest giving her a spray bottle with water for the "monsters" to spray them away. Or a nightlight or flashlight. Lots of hugs, and a prayer with her telling her that God will protect her. Hope it goes well :)!

Wendy @ The Shabby Nest said...

I wish I had some help for you on this one, but my kiddos still fall asleep with the light on. :-) Popped over from Shell in Your Pocket! Nice to be here! I'll be back!

Darlene said...

I stopped by from Shell in Your Pocket to visit you.

When my daughter got scared of the dark we used the Monster go Away type spray. My daughter would get to spray it all around and would have the peaceful feeling that nothing was there. We also still have to use a small lamp and nightlight in her room. Mine also slept with a stuffed animal that would "guard" her through the night (she is almost 10 and still picks a guard animal out most nights). It is a difficult time when they are going through this, but hopefully she will get through it quickly.♥

Michele said...

Maybe get some motion detector lights (night lights) for the hall ways. We have them in the house and it is a dim light but it's bright enough maybe to comfort her. They help to see where you are going in the dark and it will help with the electric bill!

Lindsey said...

You have a gorgeous family and I just adore your blog!

Betsy said...

Love your blog...Sandy Toes did a great job of describing you.

Jessica said...

Found you through sandy toes. I feel an instant bond with anyone who's adopted. We adopted our little 2 year old Sophia when she was 4 days old. It was an amazing experience, can't wait to read you blog.

Michelle said...

Hi Lisa,
Sorry to hear that Sarah is having these fears as night. Mia suffered from night terrors for the year and a half or so home, and I agree that these do not sound at all like night terrors, but its hard to see your child scared no matter what the reason. It sounds like you are doing the right things. I hope she gets more comfortable in the night. Please keep us posted!

The Byrd's Nest said...

Lottie did this also but she was afraid of bears. She insisted there were bears in our house in the dark. She won't go to bed with the light out AND I SLEEP WITH HER! LOL So I have to wait until she goes to sleep to turn the light out;) She was really brave also and is scared of alot of things now....she will tell you that she is afraid of her shadow too!

I think the monster go away spray is a good idea. I hope it works!

Briana's Mom said...

Briana has fears but so far not of the dark. One of her favorite movies is Monster's Inc and I thought for sure she would be scared after that one! Good luck!

Jennifer said...

Sounds like you got great advice from Tonggu Momma!

Keep us posted on how it works!

Jen

The Golf Widow said...

My girls are not afraid of the dark but do have night terrors. Trust me you would know if she had a one.

My 2 oldest started having them around 4. They would sit straight up in bed and call out me or dad and even when I'm holding them they talk past me...eyes opened...freaky to say the least.

They point at nothing and say things like: get it, or make it go away, or make it stop. They talk as if they are awake, but don't know I'm in the room all the while calling me.Eventually they calm down. They rarely remember having them.
The Ped says it can be caused by stress or exhaustion. Stress at 2...right.They are sponges and sometines just reach the limit. Learning is hard work and their minds are working to process tons of info.

What if you get her a little flash light? It could help out in the dark hallway.

She is as cute as ever!

jenbusymom said...

Caitlin was terrified as well and to this day her door remains open and a nightlight on. When the monster talk began out of the blue with her too, eventually our routine was to search the room for monsters and then I would spray my invented monster spray (which was a can of lysol covered in a monster spray created label) and that seemed to do the trick. She's outgrown the room inspections and spray but she is still afraid of the dark.

Madison started with the dark as well and I must leave the nighlight on and door open as well and they both are afraid to go into dark rooms alone. At least you're not alone!