A "good enough" mom muses about alpha moms, adoption, computers, the State Of The World, Internet quirkiness, and the Kosmik All
Brainwashing my child

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.

Brave girl.

So.  Did I do okay?  Dither, dither, dither...what do more experienced moms say?


posted by Kate @ 3/27/2007 01:14:00 AM  
  • At 3/27/2007 05:03:00 AM, Blogger atypical said…

    Oh happy accident! You didn't just do okay, you did great! The urge to pee alone helped you to teach her that she can play a role in fighting her own fears. WTG!

  • At 3/27/2007 01:12:00 PM, Blogger Space Mom said…

    You did awesome! Teaching her a phrase to use when you get scared is AWESOME!

    When we had dinosaur nightmares a few months ago, we taught S "DINOSAUR DINOBAR TURN THIS DINO INTO A CHOCOLATE BAR!" and then she could eat the dinosaur in her dreams! It helped to get brave and silly!

  • At 3/27/2007 01:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm not a BTDT, as you know, but I think that was great--you gave her language that helps her shape and form and re-form reality. Perfect.

  • At 3/27/2007 04:45:00 PM, Blogger butterfly cocoon said…

    Just wanted to post that I happened upon your blog today and I enjoyed your writing. The pictures are wonderful also! Trish

  • At 3/27/2007 09:18:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You did great! You taught her to trust for a few minutes in herself, and that knowledge that she can be brave is what she can build on for the next time, and the next and the next! Good for you! and for her!

  • At 3/28/2007 11:09:00 AM, Blogger Vinegar Martini said…

    Brave girl indeed! You did awesome, Mom!

  • At 3/28/2007 06:41:00 PM, Blogger Amanda said…

    Well, I'm not a mom, but I've often found that giving kids a mantra to repeat is helpful. I think the repeating and remembering the lines is what distracts them, but if they have to pick up the message you have them repeat....

    Well, there is nothing better than a young girl being taught to repeat the words I am Brave and Strong. Tell her that when she starts dating.

    Excellent line, Omegamom. The words of wisdom will last her a lifetime.

  • At 3/29/2007 03:32:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    No you didn't do OK. YOu were brilliant!

  • At 3/29/2007 09:01:00 PM, Blogger Kate said…

    Thanks again, everyone! I was so worried that it was pushing her around...but, amazingly enough, we've used it multiple times in the past few days to get her to do "scary" things, and, as y'all say, it's like a mantra that she can use. Woohoo!

    And, we've talked about what being "brave" means previously; this is showing her.

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About Me
Name: OmegaMom
Home: Southwest
About Me: Middle-aged mom of a 4-year-old adopted from China. Love science, debate, good SF and fantasy, hiking, music of almost every style. Lousy housekeeper. "Good enough" mom.
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