Monday, February 7, 2011

FireGirl is afraid of...


Of all things. Terrified is more like it.

As in, for her 2nd birthday we couldn't have birthday candles on her cake.
As in, at her cousin's birthday party, when they brought the cake in, she had to be removed from the room house.


Did I mention the primary source of heat in our home is a wood-burning fireplace?

That took a lot of talking, coaxing, explanation. Fire is okay in it's special place. Only grown-ups can do it. As long as it stays in it's place it's safe. And so on and so forth.

We've been in our house for five months now. She still rarely goes in the fireplace room. And if she happens to be in site of the fireplace when we're opening it to start or stoke the fire? She will run away until she's out of sight.

I just recently told her that FireMan's job involves more than driving the fire truck. That when there's a fire, he goes and puts them out. She sat and thought for a really long time about that, and showed no other reaction, good or bad.


Last night, about 45 minutes after she went to bed, she starts calling my name. I realize she sounds like she might be crying, and she's saying something about "Turtle" (her lovey). Normally, I wouldn't go in, but I decide maybe she's dropped Turtle off the side of the bed and can't find him. She is crying, and she's visibly upset. It took a few minutes to get her to calm down enough to talk.
I kneel next to her bed and ask her to go back to sleep.
"No want sleep!" she cries
I give her Turtle (which she only gets at sleep time).
"No want Turtle!" she sobs

Now I know something's wrong. For some reason she really doesn't want to go back to sleep. So I start talking to her. I ask her if she had a bad dream. Then quickly realize she doesn't really understand the concept of dreams.
I ask her if she saw something scary.
"I... {pant} see... {pant}FIRE !"
Then she falls back into the bed, shaken.

I sink down to the floor, tears in my eyes now, now also shaken. Heartbroken, that she is so scared. And fire. Well, obviously this is her phobia. Interestingly enough, it was my phobia as a child as well. And for added bonus, being in a fire family, fire brings added fears.

Knowing that I'm the mom, I recover quickly and assure her that there's no fire, I promise. I really, really promise and I would never, ever tell stories or lie about whether or not there's a fire. I tell her that in fact, I think the fire that Daddy started in the fireplace has gone out (this may or may not be true) and I promise her that we won't restart it tonight at all (this is true - ain't happening - not now). She is listening intently, wide-eyed, taking in every reassuring word her mommy is telling her. I ask her if she wants to sit up so she can see for herself that there is no fire.

"Uh huh"

I help her sit up. She looks around the room. She looks out her window.
"NO FIRE!" she declares triumphantly, and giggles as she drops back into her bed.
She rolls on her side. I kiss her cheek and leave the room.

There are no more interruptions thru the night.

FireGirl is terrified of fire.
FireGirl's daddy is a firefighter.
One day, she's gonna figure out what that really means.

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