I think we might have taken the first steps towards conquering Little Mark's first and only neurosis. I mentioned in a previous post that he, put mildly, didn't like the fireworks on the Fourth of July. Since then he hasn't set a foot outside the back door without crying and screaming in utter terror. If I put him outside, he screams and stands clawing at the glass door until someone opens it up to let him in. I've tried to take him to the swing set or to the trampoline, but he clings to me with his face in my chest, looking over his shoulder as if something were climbing up out of a dark hole to get him.
It's a little weird. But, not as weird as Margaret's old fear of the chimney.
She used to be afraid of our chimney. Lord knows how that happened, but she wouldn't go any farther from our house than the point where she could see, or see the shadow on the ground of our chimney. At that point she would look over her shoulder as if something were creeping up on her, and run back to the door in a panic. It's been a fun thing to talk to her about since LMark has developed a similar fear. She talks about it in such a clinical tone of voice that you would think she is a survivor of a major illness. She tells LMark, "See? It's just a chimney! I used to be afraid of the chimney!"
Tonight I sent the kids outside with a creamsicle: the orange popsicle with the ice cream inside. LMark began to behave as he had previously, but then began to focus on the creamsicle. After a while, he began to whine, but not about the chimney--or whatever he's afraid of out there--but being "keekee" ("sticky" -trans.). So I wiped off his hands and face, and he watched Max ride his bike around in circles. I could tell that he wanted to get his little car, but didn't have the nerve. All the same, it's a step toward healing.