Afraid of the Dark

The Grasshopper is suddenly afraid of the dark.  Very afraid.

She has been sleeping on her own in her room for almost a year, but suddenly, when it comes time for me to kiss her goodnight, it’s meltdown city.  She also will not go into her room alone to choose her clothes.  Or to the bathroom alone.  Or anywhere alone.  She would rather stand there and pee in her pants* than click on the hall light, click on the bathroom light, and use the toilet.  At 3 in the afternoon.  (*We assume she would pee in her pants.  We’re not willing to humiliate her by putting that to the test.  She’s insistent enough that I’m certain it would end with a puddle on the floor if one of us didn’t intervene.)

Clearly this is not about the dark.

I talked to her about it last night, and, from what I gathered, she is missing some of the attention that we are having to give Cricket.  She feels sad that Cricket is with us all the time while she has to do things on her own more.  Poor kid.  I never lived with a sibling.  I have no idea what she must be going through.

We tried adding more night lights.  No dice.  We tried keeping her door open.  Didn’t work.

But I think we might have finally hit on a solution.

We have a very sweet boxer dog named China (pronounced “Chee-nah”.  She’s nearing old age at 8 years old, and as a working breed dog, she’s needed a job for a long time.  Well, we may have finally found one for her: watching over the Grasshopper.

The trouble is, she’s been trained for so long that she’s not supposed to hang out in the Grasshopper’s room.  She’s unbelievably loving and patient, but you don’t leave a dog with a baby.  Period.

Last night, though, she got the surprise of her life when the Grasshopper and I invited her into bed.  Poor China was confused.  It took a few tries to convince her that she was allowed to stay in the bed with the Grasshopper.  And in the middle of the night, she did her usual pace through the house to check up on things elsewhere.  But overall, I think we’re onto something good here!

I think I will do something special for the both of them and find China a pretty new bed that we can place in the Grasshopper’s room for her to sleep on.  She doesn’t always like to sleep with people.  She gets hot sometimes and just wants her space.

Maybe this new found friendship will be good for both of them.  Goodness knows, China’s been unemployed for far too long.

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5 thoughts on “Afraid of the Dark

  1. Good problem solving my dear! Just wanted to add that the Grasshopper is at a developmental age where “fear” is the norm. Just when I’d think I had mine in their own room, we were putting bedrolls on the floor by our bed. So, the addition of her new sister may add to this, but it is normal., What I always told my parents was to thank God for a normal child and then deal with the behaviours–good, bad, or scarey. Just because it is “normal” doesn’t mean you don’t help them through it….and sounds like you have figured out how to do that!
    Much love,
    jeanie

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  2. Peanut went through the same fear of the dark thing when she was around that age. She didn’t want to walk up my parents’ hallway to get to the bathroom or the playroom because it was dark, even though the light switch is way before the darkness. She is now 7 and has totally overcome her fear of the dark (although she does sleep with a flashlight under her pillow, in case she wakes up at night, and she does have her light on really low all night – she has only been in her bed for almost 2 months, and I am not willing to have to get up at night to calm her if she gets scared because I am hugely pregnant and have Beau to deal with, and my lovely husband will pretend to be asleep). Actually, though, her kitten was the answer for her to want to sleep in her bed in the first place, so I think the dog will be a wise response to help her feel more secure and safe. And great for China, too, to have something to do!

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