Monday, September 16, 2013

Monsters who throw up

Juliana has recently developed a fascination with monsters.  She's not really afraid of them; she's just obsessed.  There are monsters in the closet, in the bed, under the bed, under the table, outside, inside, and inside her tummy.  Mostly they are silly monsters, or friendly monsters, or monsters who eat people and then throw up.  Her newest imaginary friend monster is named Ju-Ji-Ja-Ja (also the name of her favorite made-up song).

I'm not sure where the monster thing started - perhaps from recent talks with friends.  This summer she watched the Veggie Tales episode where Junior is scared of monsters.  She learned the song, "God is bigger than the boogie man."  She also learned she ought to be scared of monsters.  A few weeks ago she watched Monsters Inc., and she loved those silly monsters.  We realized we have to be careful about what books we read at bedtime.  After reading "Froggy goes to Bed," Juliana wondered why she didn't get a snack before bed and insisted her door also be cracked open.  When we read "Bedtime for Francis" (Francis is an imaginative child who stays up wondering about the noise outside her open window, the crack in her ceiling, the monster in the chair, and the fact that she is inordinately hungry.),  Juliana was also concerned about the crack in the ceiling (there isn't one), the open window (it was closed), and naturally, the monsters.  When she woke up the first morning the first thing she said was, "Francis had a crack in her ceiling."  We hid the book; Juliana found it and wanted to read it again.  Who wouldn't?

While Juliana shows little actual fear toward monsters, she has developed a number of other phobias.  Dogs, for example, which is kind of a problem since my parents have a dog.  She is fascinated with the dog.  She likes to feed her scraps from the table and call inside and outside and get her fingers licked - all from the safety of the other side of a baby gate.  If she ever happens to end up in the same room as the dog, she starts screaming.  She has also developed a fear of spider webs, any type of bugs, and being alone in any place ever.

Of course, Juliana has always had an aversion to being alone.  When she was a baby, her definition of being alone was anytime someone wasn't touching or holding her.  Seriously - she loved to be carried and hated to be put down anywhere.   Once she started getting around on her own she didn't want to be held all the time, but she used her new mobility to make sure she was never more than 3 feet away from another person.  The first time she played in another room, on her own, for more than 10 minutes I was shocked and a little worried about what's going on.  She's gotten much better about playing on her own, but if she actually asks me to leave the room, that probably means she's about to do something she shouldn't.  Her most used phrase is,"Will you play with me?" followed by, "I don't want to be lonely!"

At this point in time, if she goes to the bathroom by herself (even with the door open where she can still shout at you), she is lonely.  Besides, there is a monster in the shower.  This also applies if you go to the bathroom by yourself and she is not standing nearby inspecting the toilet paper.  If she has to walk into another room by herself or if you walk into another room without her she cries, "I don't want to be loooonely!" Her first response to bedtime is, "I don't want to sleep by myself!  I don't want to be lonely!"  She is finally sleeping on her own in her own room again, mostly without waking up during the night, but she will only go to sleep if the door is open and daddy is sitting outside where she can see him.    She certainly seems suited for a communal life.  Perhaps it's her reaction to not being in a country with 3 billion people.

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