The thing about parenting a special needs child, whatever their special need may be, is that you're forced to view the world through special glasses.
Years of struggling to help Maya have done that to us. Yes, she had a long way to come, yes, she still has plenty of twists in the road, both those we can see and those we can't yet imagine, but right here, right now, she is more and more a typical little girl, poised between five and a half and six. She may always struggle more than most with things the rest of us find easy, but more and more she's getting closer to the pack, blending in, acting and growing and developing in an age-appropriate way.
Except when she's not.
Which is why, when she suddenly developed a paralyzing fear of the dark just after we arrived at my parents a month ago, we began looking for causes. Perhaps it's the change of environment? Perhaps the castle curtains on the bunkbed are too restricting? Maybe we should move the nightlight closer? She was completely petrified of sleeping alone in the dark, and reassurances that she was neither alone (both her brother and her cousin were sleeping in the same room) nor in the dark did nothing to quell her fears.
Perhaps it's the jetlag? Maybe she's suddenly so used to having all these people around that it's ramping up her anxiety levels and this is how it's coming out? Maybe it's a deep-seated fear of starting in a new school?
We persuaded, cajoled, examined, reassured, anything we could think of.
Maybe it will get better once we get home.
Nope, it got worse.
Still nothing helped.
Tonight, a full FIVE WEEKS after this all started, Maya was again deep into her litany of how she is scared of the dark when it finally occurred to me to ask her what exactly she was afraid of.
Monsters. She's scared of monsters.
*ding ding ding ding ding ding*
Which movie did she watch over and over and over again on the plane over? Or rather, which movie did she watch only certain scenes of over and over and over again on the plane, deeming the rest too scary? WHICH MOVIE FEATURES MONSTERS TRYING TO SCARE YOUNG CHILDREN SLEEPING PEACEFULLY IN THEIR BEDS???
Yes, blogland, she spent most of the plane ride watching Monsters, Inc. on her little video screen, turning it off after the early scenes every time, never getting to the part where the monsters learn that it's far better to make the children LAUGH than to scare the everloving crap out of them.
Five weeks it took us. Yes, we are idiots. Utter and complete idiots. Fear of kindergarten. Deep seated anxiety over changes in her life. Yeah. The child saw a scary movie and got scared. You'd think it had never happened to anyone before.
Where's my sign?
* Lord, what fools these mortals be, a/k/a god, what an idiot I've been.