Chloe is afraid of EVERYTHING. Well, not everything - she's not afraid of bugs like I am. :o) But she has a lot of fears that don't make much sense, and really frustrated me and put a damper on our lives.
When I took her to the fair, she was afraid of pretty much every ride. She's terrified of heights, which means she's been rescued from playground equipment several times. The other day we went to Michael's, and we had to walk near the Halloween decorations. She screamed so loud I'm sure the other customers thought I was actually murdering her right there in the store. We had to leave, she was really scared of them. She informed me that day that she doesn't want to go trick-or-treating this year because she doesn't want to see scary decorations. She just wants to stay home on Halloween.
She doesn't sleep in her own bed because she's afraid there are monsters. She's afraid of the dark and won't go in the hallway at night if the light is off. She's afraid of balloons so much that she won't go to parties or into a party store. She's afraid of the swings at the playground, and if someone on our swingset swings her too high she's in tears and won't play again. There are a lot of times she ends up sitting with me instead of playing with other kids because she's afraid of playground equipment - especially the kind at McDonald's. She doesn't complain about not playing, and she enjoys watching the other kids, but she just sits there, and it makes me sad for her.
I've been worried lately about all of these fears. I know that when you're five, it's hard to distinguish real things from pretend things (the Halloween decorations, fear of monsters, etc.) It just seems like she's more afraid than most kids are, of a lot more things. I don't want these fears to stand in her way of really enjoying life.
Last night I was flipping through "Love for a Lifetime" by James Dobson, a book I bought for my sister-in-law. There's a section where he talks about divorce statistics (which really are terrifying) and talks about the effect of divorce on children. One statistic said 90% of children that are the product of a divorce have irrational fears.
Hmm... I wonder if that's a part of it.
He also claimed that after 3 years, most fathers no longer visited their children. It's been almost a month now since Mark has called to talk to or see Chloe. I've been worried about that too - am I supposed to call him? Ask him what the f* he is doing, abandoning her this way? It's not like I want him in her life - I hate the things she learns from him, the influence he has on her. But he is her father, after all, and she knows it and asks often why he doesn't call or come pick her up anymore.
It was my hope that having Andrew in her life would make the divorce easier, somehow. She still has a man in her life, a father-figure, that loves her very much and is a good influence on her. We do things as a family now, whereas when I was married to Mark, we didn't. But even though he's a better father, Andrew won't replace Mark, not in her heart, not in her mind.
I think now that she's a little bit older, she's capable of putting two and two together, she understands a lot more than she did when she was three, and she's thinking her own thoughts on the subject. Unfortunately, she doesn't want to or doesn't know how to share the thoughts with me.
I hate that she's in the middle of this, that she has to deal with having a mom and dad who are divorced. It's not fair to any kid. I think at the time, she handled it so well that I was convinced it wouldn't be that difficult of a transition. But now, two and a half years later, it seems to be catching up with us, and I'm not sure how to approach it all.
Any advice? Should I call Mark and ask him what's going on, or just let him fall away from our lives? Do I coddle her and comfort her when she's afraid of silly things, or should I push her to get over the fears? :::sigh::: Poor kid.