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Monday, August 18, 2008

Dealing With Fears

I've always thought of Elyssa as a very brave child. She is the social butterfly of our family. She jumps off of furniture and climbs on things. She tries new foods. She just "seems" brave to me because she usually adjusts to things well. Starting 3K last week and also moving up in her Sunday School class (to the 3-year-old class) has created some interesting situations for us to deal with and they both involve fear at the root.

In Elyssa's Sunday School class, she is learning even more and getting to do really cool crafts that keep her mind and hands busy. She is definitely enjoying that part of her new class. However, there is a new aspect to her class that I believe she will, one day, really enjoy. They have an "assembly" time where all of the classes on her hallway come together. They sing and also have a small puppet show. Would you believe that of all the kids in the assembly, Elyssa is totally afraid of the dog puppet they use to tell Bible stories? The puppet's name is Theo and every week he learns all sorts of great things about Jesus and the Bible. She is just really afraid of him. So, therefore, I have terrible feelings of guilt because I send her each week to this room to confront a dog that terrifies her. I am praying that she will quickly overcome her fear and enjoy her assembly time. We have a few puppets at home that we will begin using to help explain that Theo is only a puppet and not a "real" animal. Hopefully, this will help.

Our other situation involves her new 3K class. On Elyssa's first day of school, she came home telling us she was afraid of a lady. She wasn't referring to her teacher, but we just couldn't figure out who she was talking about. We thought, initially, that she may have been referring to a possible gym teacher that maybe talked loud to get the kids attention. We were just grasping at straws to try and figure out who she may have been talking about. Mark walked Elyssa to class on Friday and while passing through the lunchroom, they saw a new female custodian. Elyssa clamped onto Mark's leg for dear life. He finally knew who she was afraid of. This new custodian has of all things, Down Syndrome. Isn't it interesting that she is afraid of a lady that has what her baby sister has? We know that she doesn't recognize it in her sister now (and may not for a long time), but it sure is interesting to find this out. Mark let Elyssa's teacher know about the situation and her teacher will be really keeping an eye on Elyssa. Her teacher has been so sweet to comfort Elyssa during her fearful moments. Elyssa's teacher, will begin talking about how everyone is different and hopes this will help the children understand that differences in people are good things. I had ordered a calendar this past summer, after Victoria was born, that is specifically of Down Syndrome children. I will bring out that calendar today and begin showing Elyssa the pictures of the children. I want to remind her that the lady she sees at school was once a child just like the kids in the calendar. She was once a baby like our own Victoria. Who knows, maybe Elyssa's teacher can use my calendar, too, while talking about differences in people.

It's interesting how God puts you in situations sometimes that you don't anticipate coming your way. It forces you, again, back to His arms to ask for His wisdom and help. It reminds you that even though you thought you could, you really can do nothing in your own strength.


Living Life Happy said...

We will be praying for Elyssa. Hopefully, her fears will subside in a few more days as both new environments become more routine and familiar.

Anonymous said...

I will be in prayer for Elyssa and your family.