You’re afraid of what, now?

So, a few of my friends know that we’ve been going through a phase with Carson these last few weeks. He is suddenly very afraid at night time. It’s been a roller coaster between slightly scared/probably stall-tactic, to hysterical screaming, shaking and terrified crying MANY times a night. At first, he wouldn’t tell me what he was afraid of, he just said “Bad guys are in my room.” I didn’t want to ask any leading questions like “Do you think there are monsters in your closet?” because I can just see his little brain answering “Well, I DO NOW!”

I’ve sought advice from lots of different friends and gotten lots of good suggestions and support. It is getting better this last week. Glow sticks happen to be the current treatment that is making a difference. The trauma-stage seems to be past, at least. One friend suggested that I talk about the details of what he is afraid of in the morning, when the world is not so scary. I tried that, hoping to narrow down the specifics of what we’re working with here.

So the other day at breakfast, he told me he’s afraid of “the horse puppet.” Huh? We have no such puppet. He played on a stick horse at Nate’s–was that it? No, he answered, that was fun. It’s a puppet that looks like a horse. Oooookay. I figured he saw it on Sesame Street or something. Then yesterday we were at the indoor park. He brings to me a small cloth puppet. A horse puppet. Kind of like the ones they have on Baby Einstein. “This is it.” He said in a totally serious voice. “This is the horse puppet.” Huh. Interesting. “Why does it scare you?” “I don’t know, it just does.” So, stemming from some other advice I received (one dad theatrically wrestled an imaginary giant bug for his son) I dramatically grabbed the horse by the fabric neck and abruptly said, rather loudly, “YOU STOP SCARING CARSON!” That caught Carson’s attention and his eyes got big, so I continued my skit. I threw the horse down on the ground and I stomped on him. “You are just a puppet!” I said, drawing some attention from others. “Carson is NOT going to be afraid of you ANYMORE!” Still stomping. The other parents must have thought I was totally certifiable or violence-prone. (Or, like some of you–anti-animal.) “You are not allowed to scare him anymore, DO YOU HEAR ME?!” Carson was quite excited at this time and took his own turn stomping on the horse. Then we threw the puppet to the bottom of the pile of toys. Aaaaaand…….. SCENE.

It’s only been one night, so I can’t tell if this did any significant help to his “horse puppet” fear.

THEN, this morning, he was watching TV while I was in the kitchen. I can’t see the TV, but I can hear it. He comes running in with a genuine look of fear. “MOM! Mom! The frog is on! I’m scared of The Frog too! Come quick! Please turn the channel! PLEASE!” I knew what he was watching, and I immediately thought to myself: “NO. It can’t be! There is no way he’s afraid of…” but sure enough! When I came into the living room, he was pointing with an accusatory finger at…

Kermit the Frog.


What’s next? Mikey Mouse? Elmo?


  1. I hope there isn’t some little kid from the playpark telling his mom that he is scared of that “crazy stomping lady”!
    Mom (aka Gma JoJo)

  2. Jen… I don’t want to laugh at what you’re going through but I can’t help but laugh at your story. I can imagaine the looks you must have received as you stomped the poor horse puppet to death. The mental picture just gives me a chuckle. Ah, the things that we resort to when we become parents! Good job lady. You’re doing a good job.

  3. You are quite the storyteller! I felt like I was one of the onlooker parents! I hope it worked! I can believe he is scared of Kermit being that Emily is scared of everything. I might have to use some of your tactics!

  4. And SCENE….I love you.

    I hope the madness ends soon.

    I will remind Curtis not to do his “Kermit voice” around Carson in December… Oddly enough, he was doing a whole Kermit/Ms. Piggy skit in the car on the way home tonight! :o)

  5. I was very afraid of the dark. There was a witch that lived under my bed until I was in my early 20s. I was only afraid of her until I was in my early teens but that didn’t make her go away. And, she could only get you if the lights were out and you had a limb hanging off the bed. So the deal was, you had to turn off the light, RUN and JUMP on the bed, cover up quickly so she didn’t have a chance. My mom “tucked me in” until I was 10 so she could turn off the light. Seriously, I’m so sorry for Carson. His fear is real. Well done on the horse stomping. Maybe he’s afraid of all puppets. And really, Kermit is one of the ugliest things I’ve ever seen. Never did like him either and especially after he sang the Rainbow Connection – ugggg. Hang in there. Keep narrowing it down. There maybe only a few things that really freak him out.

  6. Oh my word! Like Jenna, I don’t want to laugh at your exasperation, but I’m dying! Not Kermit! I’m going to go out and buy something with Kermit on it just so I can watch you yell at it and stomp on it in front of all of us. Maybe I’ll bring a camera…

    In all seriousness though, that was a great idea! You tell that horse puppet!!

  7. I’m interested in the spectator parents at the indoor park. I’d like to think they were smiling knowingly, but maybe they just scooted a few feet away from the two of you saying to themselves, “I know she’s harmless. I know she’s harmless. I know she’s harmless.”

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