it wasn't a monster that scared her

Just like any other work day, I scurried from desk to car to pick up Caroline from school. She greeted me happily at the little half door, her hair pulled back into a cute side ponytail. She and Julianna gathered her coat and bag together while their teacher passed along the grave news; there had been no nap. My eyes widened, my jaw slackened, and I swallowed my gut reaction in exchange for “oh, no.”

Nevermind I thought to myself, just get her home and fed. My mind raced with reasons WHY she might have skipped it, pausing briefly on “she’s giving it up” before pushing that crazy thought out of my head in favor of relishing her excitement in seeing Daddy at home.

“Caroline, are you excited to see Daddy?”
“yeah!!”
“Is he going to be home when we get there?”
“No, not yet.” (but he was!!)

Joy of joys Daddy was home and I was able to change my clothes and get dinner ready while he entertained her. She had missed him, but she was exhausted.

At seven we moved the party upstairs for bathtime after she had nearly fallen asleep to Shrek. That was when she got very upset. A brief recent history of bathtime…

Saturday – Caroline is startled and panicked to discover a hair (belonging to me no doubt) floating in her bath water. Hysteria commenced, immediate removal from tub, washing hair in sink is necessary. Sorry Aunties.

Sunday – Very unhappy about it. Daddy thought the water was too cold (but we know better now).

Monday – Solo Mom unable to convince her to climb in, practically crawling soaking wet into my arms. I tried to make it nice and steamy to combat the phlegm factor from Sunday night and I thought perhaps the water was too warm for her (but we know better now).

Tuesday – Screaming, crying, awful. I finally with Steve’s help got her sitting in the tub, washed her hair, rinsed her. I rubbed her back while trying to calm her, reassuring her that she was ok. The calmer my tone, the more even her breathing, but she was still begging "uppy!"

We got her up and out pretty quickly and into Steve’s waiting arms. I knew what this was about and I decided to bust out the social work skillz. Steve got her into her onesie and I knelt on the floor in front of her at eye level to talk about what was bothering her. Happy day, there is two way communication nowadays and without prompting she was able to tell me that what had scared her was “hair.” Now, I have longish hair. I lose it at an alarming rate in the shower. Despite my best clean gene efforts, finding a hair in the tub is not a rarity. So we are going to need to nip this one in the bud asap. I validated Caroline’s concerns about the hair by telling her that I was sure it had really scared her. I tried to assure her that there won’t be anymore hair in the tub. I suggested that tonight I would help her go on “Hair Patrol” to be absolutely certain that there are no evil rogue hairs waiting to float in her bath water and reminded her that Mommy will be right there with her. She was calm after that, but I know better than to think that I solved this crisis in one short intervention.

The end of this story is crazy. We got her all zipped up into her pjs and I convinced her to sit with me to dry her hair. Mid hair dry – with the blower right next to her ear – she was OUT. Out for the night. Done.

So parents – how exactly can I help her move past this bizarre fear?


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