When my daughter was about 6 months old, we took her to a birthday party for a friend’s daughter where there were shiny, foil balloons. I thought, “Hey this’ll be fun! She can hit it and it will spin around in the air!” Fun, right?
Wrong, I was so wrong.
My happy, pleasant kid morphed into a terrified baby, paralyzed with fear. So I thought, “Well, we’ll take a balloon home and maybe she’ll get used to it.” She did decide it was a little fun, but only from a minimum of about 10 feet away. If it got any closer, she would grab on to the nearest shoulder and try to hide from that big, scary balloon! She never even heard one pop, and I’m still baffled as to why she was afraid.
Since then, we’ve learned she’s afraid of lots of things: When you replace the trash bag in the trash can and open the bag and fill it with air that’s enough to make her cry for a few minutes at least. She’s also not impressed with the vacuum cleaner, afraid of any huge stuffed animal, and worst of all, isn’t a fan of some of our close relatives, including both of her uncles and one grandma.
I’m relieved that she isn’t the only baby scared by weird things, and I’m sure we all have those hilarious parenting moments. But I’m not going to lie, it’s hard when she’s scared of her close relatives. I’m just thankful she seems to be growing out of that, finally. We’ve found that being more intentional around those relatives that make her uneasy has helped her to decide that perhaps her uncles are fun after all, and that her grandma is pretty great, especially because she usually has food or toys!
The weird things that make her nervous, we just generally avoid them if at all possible. Sometimes that’s easier said than done. It’s easy to avoid the huge stuffed unicorn that lives at our friend’s house, unless of course, her 6-year-old has decided that she wants to use it to play peek-a-boo with my baby. Yes, that was as awful as you’d imagine! But she’s going to have to get used to the changing of the trash bag. There’s only so much we can do to shield her from life.
Jenny Ditch is a busy working mom in Illinois with one daughter who she can’t wait to see become brave, and hopefully wise too.