While OmegaDotter has, with help, discovered that she can sleep through the night, and night terrors and tantrums are a thing of the past, she has been developing a no-doubt age-appropriate Fear Of Things.
Y'know--the Things That Lurk In Shadows in dark rooms and hallways.
I remember this fear, so I try to be gentle with her. But, this, coupled with her generalized fear of being alone, has led her to requiring OmegaDad or me to stand outside the bathroom when she visits the toilet. And required her to follow me or OmegaDad around the house rather than staying in a room by herself at night.
This evening, we were preparing for her bedtime. I was about ready to do our nighttime lotion (the southwest aridity just sucks the moisture out of her skin, much worse than it does mine) when I realized that I hadn't done my preparation (aka a visit to the john and a switch into my comfy sweats and t-shirt, sans bra).
It would only take a minute or two, I knew.
I also knew she would want to come with me, and, geez, guys, I just wanted to pee! And change clothes!
So I announced I was going to just quickly get my sweats on. As I expected, her eyes widened, she clutched her blankie, and she said, "Can I come with you?"
(Geez, guys, I just wanted to pee! And change clothes!)
In desperation, I said, "Now, I just want you to stay here--"
The head shake began.
"--and snuggle with your blankie, and say to yourself, 'I am brave and strong."
I said, "Can you say that?"
She repeated, softly, "I am brave and strong."
Then I said, "And I want you to say, 'There is nothing in mommy's bedroom to frighten me.'"
I cupped my ear, and she repeated, softly, "There is nothing in mommy's bedroom to frighten me."
I said, "Now, I'm just going to dash into the bathroom--right across the hall--and go potty and get my sweats on. Do you think you can sit here while I do that?"
She said, quietly, "Can I stay by the door?"
"Okay," and we slid off the bed to the doorway. I held her shoulders and crouched down to look her in the eyes, and said, "Now, what do you say?"
"I am brave and strong."
"There is nothing in mommy's bedroom to frighten me."
She didn't sound convinced.
"I'll be right back."
I dashed into the bathroom, and started changing clothes.
I heard a voice in the hallway saying, "I am brave and strong! There's nothing in mommy's bedroom to frighten me!"
I finished changing clothes, and sat on the toilet.
"I am brave and strong and there's nothing in mommy's bedroom to frighten me!"
I flushed. She repeated it. I came back into the hallway, where she was sitting in the doorway with the blankie. She looked up at me and smiled.
For a moment, I felt like I had bullied her into doing it. (I still do, sort of.) But then she said, with a bounce, "I'm practicing being brave!"
That's my girl.
And she did it when I had to go into the kitchen (just down the hallway) to get her nighttime milk and the book I was going to read to her. (Bartholomew and the Oobleck, by Dr. Seuss.) And then we snuggled, and we read together, and she sounded out "Bartholomew" and was very excited to realize that if you run the sounds together, it matched the letters, and then she told me all about how the school had gotten new Barbies and she and K. had built a whole house with a desk and a computer and kitchen and everything.
So. Did I do okay? Dither, dither, dither...what do more experienced moms say?
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