Kittyboy acts like a Tigger, but we think of him as a Piglet. He's scared by many miscellaneous things, it kind of depends, and it's hard to predict what will scare him before he's in tears, and once something scares him, he's often DONE. That's it, no more, done for the day.
Likes music loud, but is scared of certain noises, and they don't have to be loud to be scary. Scrolling through an app on my phone - made a swooshing noise - sent him running in tears to his room. We spent a day at the Steam Show in Jacksonville, THAT was a total bust. At the beginning of a video about construction equipment, they show demolitions, which scares him every time. Fire scares him - we got one good shot in front of a background with a fireplace for his Christmas photo, and he was all done with that. We saw the background as the photographer was pulling it down, thought "Here goes nothing," and were impressed we got the one, AND that he only said "All done, all done" and hastily climbed down from the platform, instead of losing it completely. Food must be lukewarm - the sight of steam is distressing. Bugs are scary, anything small and quickly moving that's not in a cage.
This afternoon, I told my mom we were taking Kittyboy to Brookfield Zoo with the grandparents in the spring, but were taking him the our smaller local zoo first as a dry run - so we could know in advance what exhibits to avoid. Then then I listened to what I just said. And I decided this is ridiculous. Not the idea of a dry run at a smaller zoo, that's a good idea - just the whole, "What about this normal childhood activity is going to scare him?" thing. He cannot go through life being anxious about every new sound and anything sudden, especially when it's actually contrary to his personality. He's an extrovert who charges through life with glee and abandon - seeing him stop short and burst into tears because of a ladybug is just too sad.
We watched Pinocchio today. I was nervous that he would get scared, and then of course be done with the movie, but every time he did get scared (let's see now - the puppeteer, the coachman, Pleasure Island, the whale, the fire to make the whale sneeze, the whale again) he calmed back down. He ran crying from the construction video later, because of the demolitions, but it gave me an idea. I know reading the original Grimms' Fairy Tales is supposed to be really good for kids, because it introduces scary things and allows kids to then deal with being scared without anything scary actually happening. So on that theory, I am putting him on a diet of scary, because the earlier he learns how to BE scared in real life, and then deal with it and get past it, the happier his childhood will be. I don't care if he ever goes on rollar coasters, but I don't want the sight of one to ruin his day at a theme park, you know? (I don't even know what he will think of rollar coasters, that's just an example).
We'll read Grimms every day, and we'll start watching all the Disney movies that I haven't put in simply because of the long run-time (he's just turned three, 90 minutes seems like a long time to sit for one program, but if this would help...!). I've made progress on food temps, by fixing a LOT of fried potatoes during Advent - I doubt anyone can resist fresh fries, no matter the heat. That was the first thing he ever ate that was actually hot (who wants lukewarm fries?). And this evening he ate pasta that was steaming - we blew on each bite, together, until it was totally cooled, but the plate sat there steaming, and he actually didn't refuse to eat, which he usually does if it looks hot.
Any other ideas how to nicely but firmly expand his horizons? How to safely scare him, so to speak? Because that's the plan! It may sound mean, but something's got to change!
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