Wednesday, November 26, 2008

She's a Sissy

Sissy, who is 2 years and 10 months old, has all of a sudden developed fears of things. Many odd things.

I guess it started around Halloween time when Buddy's mask spooked her and she began saying, "I scared of Bubbie's mask." And, we keep saying, "That's still your bubbie behind the mask. It's just make believe."

Then, there was the house she and the Evil Twin encountered that had a talking brain type thing on the sidewalk. Apparently, it opened into halves and made shrieking sounds when someone walked by. She calls it the "clam" and she is now scared of "clams".

While she enjoys looking at ladybugs in books or on cartoons, when one got in the house a couple of weeks ago, she flipped out completely until I scooped it up and threw it back outside.

She's also long been afraid of the vacuum cleaner, despite the fact that I run the stupid thing it's not like it's some unfamiliar beast. She just has never liked it (come to think of it, me neither, but everyone likes to eat crackers and shit in the living room/den area and I can't stand seeing crumbs..... my OCD - and loathing/fear of cockroaches - wins again! Rats!).

But about 2 weeks ago, she started with absolutely losing her mind in the bath tub. We couldn't figure it out.

I even looked online for answers and discovered that fear of the bath around toddler-hood is not uncommon at all, but there are a variety of ways to deal with the issue. Seeing as how Buddy never did stuff like this - he was, in fact, the model textbook child and still is - we were just flummoxed.

It seems there are two camps. The camp that says: don't make their fears seem trivial. You (the parent) will crush their widdle spirits if you force them to endure the X (bath, ladybug, vacuum cleaner ... no matter how irrational the fear may be). The other camp says: Children need boundaries and they need a parent. As the parent, you call the shots and they must do the necessary things in life or get used to ordinary things in life.

The Evil Twin and I kind of fall into Camp B.

But, we felt really guilty about the bath thing. Mainly because we weren't sure if there was something traumatic about the bath for her. i bathe her quickly and only leave the room for ultra brief moments (think: walk down the hall and back in about 15 seconds), so I knew she had not fallen, plus she sits/stands on a non-skid mat. The water is never too hot.

So, we're thinking: Did she get shampoo in her eyes? Did I scratch her with my nails on her coochie when I briefly wiped it off? What was going on?

Well, we found out last night.

It's the MOST obvious fear a toddler might have and we never considered it.

She's scared of the drain. She HATES, loathes, abhors the evil drain and all its' inherent evil devices.

In an attempt to assuage her fears, we're trying to acknowledge her fear and not make light of it (Oh, that's just silly). We're actually trying to reason with her (You're too big to go down the drain). It doesn't seem to be working. So, I just wash her as fast as possible and that is that.

Please, let this pass quickly.


March 6, 1940 - November 26, 2005. Mom, I miss you.


  1. In the 70's Mr. Rogers actually sang a song called "You're too Big to Go Down the Drain"-I used to sing it to my little sister because she was afraid of ALL bathroom fixtures. Haha, she would love it that I just posted that! I'll have to call her and ask her if she's still scared of the potty and tub to see what the prognosis for Sissy might be, LOL!

  2. My niece Little B went through some stages of irrational fears including a fear of swallowing. Everyone tried to figure out if she choked on something for the longest time, but eventually it passed. Have you tried covering the drain with a bathmat or something, then you can try the "You can't go through the bathmat sort of argument."

  3. Mister Rogers had a great song, that my son liked. It was called "You Could Never Go Down a Drain". It was cute. My friend's daughtet is scared of public toilets. One - b/c of the loud flush, and two because the sensor light can cause it to flush when a small child sits on it. Poor thing! Here is a little PBS link:

  4. My 2nd oldest Punkin-doodle (Grand Daughter), had the same issue with the tub drain. She loves paw-paw's workshop though so I took her downstairs and gave her a big bag of PVC pipe, ells, p-traps and such. She put them together and made all sorts of shapes with them. I then explained that those were things to make a drain, we then poured water through them and learned how a trap works.
    Then my wife tapped on the tub while we checked out the actual tub drain th the basement ceiling.

    Now (not intended but good enough) she is not scared because she knows that if she goes down the drain she will just go to paw-paw's workshop. Still LOL!

  5. What if you had her help you fill the tub? Let her play with the plug? It's been a long time since the Things had those irrational fears, but I do recall that allowing them to manipulate what they were afraid of got them over it pretty quickly.

    Good luck with it!

  6. My brother was scared of that too. Mother ascribed it to the Scrubbing Bubbles commercial (we work hard so you dont' have tooooooo!) where the bubbles go down the drain. She made sure that the drain was always covered, and never let the water out till he was out of the tub and (usually) in the other room. And eventually logic won out. At this age kids don't have a very good idea of size relationships (so logic is hard to apply in this case), so probably the best thing to do is to accommodate it the way Mother did till the brain development catches up.

    Then again, my brother STILL doesn't like to bathe all that much... ;-)

  7. Some good ideas here, my daughter went throught that for a short time as well.

    {{hugs}}I hope you get through the day ok, embrace the good memories.

  8. MEL - I remember that song!

    Ron - we do have a drain cover over it (the stopper doesn't work so well). She seems to be afraid of the cover and the silver drain thing... prolly just have to wait it out.

    Gigi - thanks for the link! I love, love, love Mr. Rogers (and that song).

    Skully - we''ll try anything at this point. Thanks!

    Tiff - thanks - I'll see if she'll look at it or touch it today. :-)

    MtnLaurel - yep, we know we can't reason with her, so we're just trying to reassure her all these things are harmless over and over.

  9. Scott - Thanks dude. I'll probably be too busy in the kitchen to think too much.

  10. Man...thats wild! So easy to forget the fears that little ones deal with.

    When my daughter was little, there wasn't a bug, reptile, etc, that scared her at all. Now...if she even see's a spider, she freaks. Go figure.

  11. haha! Olivia went through that. She was also afraid of getting flushed down the toilet.

    Olivia's older brother, Joseph, is afraid of being alone ... ever. Like, he won't even sleep in a room by himself, and when he showers, someone needs to be in the next room or he freaks out. i really don't understand his fear of abandonment... he has never been lost or left alone, or anything.

    One time, I went out to get the mail while I thought he was taking a nap. He freaked out so bad in the 30 seconds it took for me to run to the end of the driveway and back that I thought he was going to have a heart attack. That was when he was four!

    I just try to "debunk" as many fears as I can and try to make kids feel less afraid about things like this. But sometimes, kids are just scaredy-cats and you have to wait for them to grow out of it. Poor Joseph is almost 10, and is just getting to the point where he can be in a room by himself, with other people elsewhere in the house. I hope he's able to be in a place alone by college.

  12. My cousin's daughter refused to shower without her mother in the bathroom when she was little. When I was a toddler my mom put me out in the yard to play and a chipmunk up and down my leg. I was terrified of furry critters for a long time after that. I guess kids just eventually get over stuff like that.

  13. I knew it was the drain! I was deathly afraid of the drain when I was young. Of course my dad yelling watch out you are going to go down the drain when my mom gave me baths didn't help. I remember hanging onto my moms neck screaming and her trying to reason with me about being too big to fir in the drain, but I was still afraid and couldn't *hear* her. I am still afraid of big drains, like in swimming pools. I feel her fear, good luck, nothing you say will make a difference.

  14. Tiff had a good idea. Let her help fill the tub and watch the water go out.

    She should get over that fairly soon.

  15. My god so am I!

    Ok, not really ;)

    But to this day I am still afraid of those sump pumps in basements.

    Has Sissy maybe seen one of those horror movie scenes where a thing comes up from a drain and grabs onto someone? Or maybe saw a spider in your bathtub drain? That would do it for me!

  16. When I was that age I had a fear of cancer.

  17. There's a great series of books entitled, "Your Two Year Old" by Louise Bates- Ames and the books progress through the years (Your 3 Year Old, Your 4 Year Old, and so on) and they are REALLY good books and totally right on! Not only will they help you to know what to expect, it's good to know your child is perfectly normal and how to help with things like this.

    {{{Hugs}}} to you on this day - it's hard to loose someone you love. You are a good mom because you were blessed to have one yourself.

  18. OMG, she sounds like my oldest when she was younger. I could never pull the plug with her sitting in the tub, she eventually got over it when she realized if Barbie can't fit down the drain than neither can she.

    Good luck with it. What a little sweatheart. So innocent.

  19. There is a drain dragon isn't there? I never take baths because I can't swim and hate the sound of the water going down the drain when i pull the plug.

  20. Efen - you just described the *rest* of my family. I'm the only one brave enough for bug duty. (well, the Evil Twin will squash them, but I like to let spiders live).

    Rebecca - it's always something, huh? This one just came out of nowhere. Gah!

    Hacksaw - I hope the growing out of it happens sooner than later.

    Chris - I know. It's so frustrating. It really does break our hearts, but she needs to be cleaned off, ya know?

    Kenju - she's getting to where she doesn't even want to get near the tub.... Why does it have to be so hard?

    Carolyn - I've never seen a spider in the tub... She just looks at the drain and drain cover and flips out!

    LBB - Well, at least you were able to bathe. LOL.

    Momma - I'll check into the books. Thanks. And thanks for the hugs, too.

    The Girl - I'm hoping something positive clicks for her - and soon!

    rosemary - I guess you were traumatized by the drain, too, huh?

  21. Here's a little tidbit of info for ya...I'm learning in one of my educational psychology classes that it is GOOD for parents to not give in to their childrens' fears (within reason, of course), so don't feel guilty! I agree with some of the other readers, if she can have a concrete idea of what happens to the things that DO go down the drain...actually see what happens with her own eyes, she will be less afraid. Good luck!

  22. God bless you and your tribute to your Mom. That was very sweet and it touched my heart.

    Lil T, the grandboy, has now gotten fears of plenty of stuff. Hopefully they outgrow it pretty fast :)

  23. That's agood one! Maybe get her some of those tub crayons and let her draw on it -- to distract her.

    How about giving her a rubber duck and challenging her to get the duck to go down the drain. Maybe she'll see herself that it's just not possible.

    I'm sure it will pass. Good Luck and remember to write it down - she'll crack up at herself one day!

  24. damn... your kid is nuts! :)

    when i was a kid i thought there were crab monsters in the drain. probably because i saw a waterbug or something crawl out. i swore up and down that there was a tenticle monster living in there....

    as long as you don't coddle your kid's irrational fears she'll get over them.

    sorry about your mom. that stuff sucks bigtime.

  25. Next time you're at Walmart, get a $1.88 hair trap for the drain - it's a biggish white plastic thing that just sets on top, in theory to collect hair and such before it clogs the pipes. Jacob had about 4 seconds' worth of concern about the drain once, and we popped that sucker in place right after pulling the plug to let the tub drain after a bath, and he apparently decided that that little piece of plastic is an impenetrable fortress of safety. Whatever works...

  26. Poor Sissy! I bet a drain cover would work though, that way she can see it's covered up.

    I have missed a bunch of posts! Catching up now.

    So sorry about your mom. That was a great simple tribute.

  27. Poor Sissy! I bet a drain cover would work though, that way she can see it's covered up.

    I have missed a bunch of posts! Catching up now.

    So sorry about your mom. That was a great simple tribute.

  28. My friend's kid went through the same thing to the point where at 3 she had to give him a bath in the kitchen sink! She started playing with him fully clothed in the bathroom with floating toys and let him see that the toys didn't fall down the drain and after like a week he was back in the tub