Joelle takes after her Mama in many, many ways. Sometimes I think she's almost an exact replica of me (mini-size of course!).
One of the ways we are alike is that we have a hard time turning our brains off at night. Especially when we have heard or experienced something a little nerve-wracking during the day...or just downright scary.
Whether it's a fire that happened in our little town, or yet another tornado warning, or woodticks (that she is now envisioning as GIANT wood ticks -- as in people-size -- sitting next to her bed), or even just thinking about dust-mites surrounding her...it is often hard to get this precious child to let go of her fears and fall asleep. She just clings on to her fears and makes them grow and grow and grow until they are just too unmanageable for her to handle.
It was becoming very common for her to come out of her room and to the top of the stairs every single night while Les and I were still downstairs watching TV before bed. We'd hear the pitter-patter of her feet above us and then a quiet, "Mom...I'm scared." I would need to go up to her room and rub her back, pray with her, and do whatever I could think of to calm her down.
Then one day I had a brilliant idea! Joelle and I sat down one afternoon after school and came up with two different lists to put up on her wall. One of them was a list of things she could think about when she was scared, and the other a list of songs she could sing when she was scared. Sometimes, in the moment when fear is staring you in the face, it's next to impossible to think of anything else. Especially on the spot. So I figured that by giving her lists of things to post right next to her bed it would be helpful.
And boy oh boy, has it ever been helpful! She has had these lists up for a month now, and I can probably count on 2 fingers the number of times she has come out of her room expressing the fact that she is scared (not counting the two thunderstorms we have had this week).
It's working, and I am so proud of this girl for giving it such an honest try and realizing that she can start controlling the way her mind thinks and figure out ways to calm herself down and distract herself with other thoughts. Positive, happy thoughts!
She's a fighter, that one. A fear-fighter!