Evie is quite the Nervous Nelly these days.
She is afraid to have her head out of the covers. She has to take a stuffed animal (preferably a big one) to leave her room. She won’t go downstairs by herself, in fact, she won’t go half way down the hallway, even if you’re watching. She won’t be the first one down the stairs or the last one up the stairs. She can’t go to the bathroom by herself, even with the door open and us in the next room. Always, always, there are “monsters”.
I believe that she is truly scared. I spent a lot of time as a child being scared to death. I have a very fertile imagination, and so does she. And, much like I did when I was a kid, she sort of courts disaster. For example, she spends all day, every day playing “monsters” at school, so is it that much of a surprise that her mind turns to monsters when she is alone?
I also believe she, like any kid her age, is a master manipulator. There’s a fine line between not wanting to walk downstairs by herself and screaming, “I’m scared, I can’t take it anymore!” and trying to get out of her timeout, when she’s a couple of feet away from where I’m standing. I think she can detect that being afraid is something I am sensitive of, and she knows she can use it against me. It’s a hard one for me to ignore.
We’re not completely heartless. We don’t force her to do things, and we do try to be sensitive about this. One time Sara gave her the bottom piece of the fridge to use as a club for self-protection when she went to the bathroom. We let her sleep with her fake sword in her bed. And I even made a sign for her door (with her input of course) that says, “Don’t open this door, there’s giants in here!” (Monsters, of course, being afraid of giants, would run away and not open the door.) Even as we’re doing this, we always re-enforce that monsters don’t exist, and even if they did, we are safe in our own home. But so far, no amount of assurances on our part can make her feel better.
Any suggestions from you parents out there? Should we just ignore it until it goes away? Is she just doing this because she knows it’s my weakness?
Or is our house actually full of monsters that we adults have lost the ability to sense?