Parenting 2.0

Where the Wild Things Aren’t

Posted on: February 27, 2010

It’s inevitable that babies will develop fears of certain things. As much as we want them to be happy and carefree, there will be something out there that eventually frightens them. Whether it’s the dark, a blue stuffed giraffe (which is what my friend’s son is scared of these days – he just can’t do enough to get away from it), a book, a movie etc. So yes, the fear will come, it’s a natural progression, I just think that we as parents don’t want to be the ones to induce it, right? But what if we induce it by accident…

The other day I read the story Where the Wild Things Are to baby N. Personally, I have always thought the book was a bit scary, but it is an award winner and Niko happened to have been given a copy (thanks Tamar), so read it we did. Now, to my baby’s chagrin, (and in part due to the fact that I think it’s a scary story to begin with) I used a deeper and scarier voice when I was reading – without even a thought as to how this could affect my little listener.

Little N was just sitting on my lap, innocently looking at the pictures and I was reading along full force, in a voice he hadn’t heard before. I know that reading to him is supposed to be about him and for him, but since he was facing the book, I couldn’t really see his face, until I was forced to look when I heard two little high pitched squeaks (a noise I had never heard before) coming from him. When I heard the squeaks I stopped and turned him toward me, only to see a huge pouty lip and two wide and tear filled little baby eyes looking up at me, as if to say, “Stop Mommy! I’m scared!”.

I quickly reevaluated the voice I was using, closed the book and held him close to reassure him that everything was OK. A few minutes later I went back to the story, this time with a softer baby voice, but it really didn’t matter: the damage had been done and he started to pout and his eyes got wide and filled with tears again! “OY! What have I done”?, I thought.

A day passed and I wanted to test out the book one more time. A glutton for punishment? Not really. I sort of just wanted to show him there was nothing to be afraid of. Anyway, with a new day and a new voice, he was fine with book. As long as I remembered to use a nice sing-songy voice when I was reading the part about how the wild things “roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws”.

One thing’s for sure, I definitely want my arms and voice to be a comforting source for Niko, a place where he knows the wild things aren’t! Lesson learned.

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3 Responses to "Where the Wild Things Aren’t"

This is too funny! I too tried that book out with my kiddo when she was a wee one. She had the exact same reaction; she grabbed it and said, “no scawy monstews”. However later when she turned 4 she grabbed it off the shelf and wanted to read it. We read it every night after that night for the next year. The poor book is so used and tattered. We didn’t see the movie though. I heard it was pretty scary. Maybe in 4 years she’ll be ready for the movie. 🙂

Ha…there must be others that have experienced this as well, then. It’s a great story, but I guess they just need to be ready for it…

[…] Both Borys and I love to read, and we agree that it is important to pass this love onto Niko.  He can learn so much from reading; he can learn about history, expand his imagination, learn new […]

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