Friday, March 28, 2008

Scaredy Cat

As physical and always on the go as our Lily is, she certainly is a sensitive little soul. The most random things make her scared. Like the automatic rewind on the vacuum cleaner cord. (Though she LOVES the vacuum itself - go figure.) Or my parents automatic garage door. Or the automatic towel dispenser in the bathroom.

Hmm, I'm sensing a trend. Things that SEEM inanimate, yet tend to move on their own as if by magic...

Some things are understandable. A dog barking close by, for instance. Or Santa Claus. Other things are just so funny. Lily took one look up at my dad's massive umbrella and her lower lip started trembling before the tearful wailing began.

Tonight, while we were out to eat at our favorite little local place, one of the owners came by to say hi to Lily. He came right up to her, got down on her level, leaned on her high chair, and started talking to her. She took one look at me, then back at him, and the lip began to quiver. Uh-oh. Her poor little face got red, the poochie lip came out, and the crying started.

Moments before, she was having a ball making funny faces at our waitress from afar. I guess that was the difference. This stranger got right in her face, and she freaked out. Plus, she always was a little more leary of men than of women, and it was close to her bedtime so she might have been a little moody to begin with. But I haven't seen her afraid of another person in months, so it was a bit surprising.

We've helped her conquer several fears in the past. The first time I ever heard her scream in fear was when she crawled over to the basement door to investigate the strange scratching sound coming from behind it. She sat and watched as suddenly a cat's paw came shooting out from beneath the door at her. And Lily screamed! A lot of her reactions are delayed - like she has to process what she's just seen and then realizes it's scary (like tonight at dinner). But this was immediate. And so surprising, because I guess I never really thought about a baby's ability to scream with fright before. It caught me so off-guard I started to laugh, but then she burst into tears until I scooped her up and calmed her down.

But oh my goodness, I'll never forget that sound. Now she thinks the cat's paw shooting out under the door is funny, because we made a game out of it. Sometimes, I catch her sticking her hand under the door, an anticipatory grin on her face as she waits for a little furry something to come attack.

She was also very afraid of the Tickle-Me Cookie Monster she got for Christmas. I think it was a combination of it moving by itself (there's that fear of the seemingly inanimate again) and of Cookie Monster's really scary voice. Plus, she probably thought it was attacking her, as he lunged forward in laughter after she pushed his belly. But now she laughs and likes to watch as he throws himself around.