Monday, January 7, 2008

Daddy Missed the Fox

In September when Miles' family came down to visit and meet baby Amber, the boys saw a fox running through the neighborhood. These fox live with us in our neighborhood. They roam around at night and find whatever they can to eat, I suppose. We have our fierce guard dogs, so the fox don't come into our yard, but they roam through others. They make their dens in the drainage pipes behind Sam's club and along the irrigation ditches that cris-cross through our neighborhoods. They stick to themselves, mostly, and we only catch glimpses of them in the evenings.

That particular evening, we were in the front yard with the boys. Miles was capturing pictures of the sunset. The boys suddenly exclaimed, 'It's a fox!' Diane and I looked and sure enough, a fox went running through a neighbors yard and disappeared into their back yard probably towards the ditch that runs back there. Miles missed it and the boys thought it was fun to tease Daddy about missing the fox. Ever since then one of them would say 'Daddy missed the fox!' Especially when Cory wears his pajamas with a fox on them.

The discussion about the fox was always in fun and in jest. We have a lot of animals (real, stuffed and plastic) around our house and are all animal lovers. Never in my wildest imagination would I think that this fox would be a scary thing.

Ever since we returned from our trip to ND for Christmas, Tyler has had a difficult time going to sleep. He will fuss and hyperventilate and cry and hang on to me for dear life. He says, 'there's a fox mommy!' I'm not quite sure what to do about this. Is the fox scaring him? I don't want to deny that it's there - what I've read is that they have wonderful imaginations and it just may be there for him. So, I asked him where. He pointed to a piece of furniture in his room, so I took it out. He'll eventually go to sleep if we're there with him, but he is truly afraid of something.

Part of me wonders if he's using this as a tactic that will bring out his desired reaction from me. One night I brought him into bed with us and he slept there. One night Miles took the mattress out of his crib and he slept on the floor all night. After that night, we thought maybe he'd do better with his big boy bed. So, we took the top bunk off the bed in Cory's room and moved his bed into his room. He still complained about the fox. And in fact, the piece of furniture that I had moved out of his room, I put in Cory's room. As we were getting ready for bed, Tyler pointed at the table in Cory's room and said, 'that's a fox, mommy!'

I'm hoping this is just a phase, but I don't want to create any habits that we've tried so hard not to create. One of them is the kids sleeping in our bed. We've been pretty strict about that and I really think we all sleep better because of it.

It really breaks my heart, though, to hear him terrified in his room alone. I can't just let him cry it out. So, last night Miles went in and fell asleep with him. It was late. Then, this morning, he woke up early (5 AM) and was very upset. He calmed down, but he was very hard to handle this morning. I could tell that he was very tired. We had to get them all ready for daycare, so it was a hectic morning.

I'm just not sure what to do. I want to comfort him, I want him to feel safe, but I want him to sleep in his own room. I guess my approach to this one will be to continue to comfort him, help him get to sleep each night and hope that this is just a phase.

Boy, I'm tired today.

1 comment:

Mimi said...

This started out so nice, and ended so sadly! I'm sorry your little guy is so afraid. You're right, I think, to wonder if this is really about the fox, or if it's about something else. I think all those fears are a sign of a developing person: he's learning enough about his own place in the world to feel a little more insecure than he did when he was a blissfully ignorant baby, right?

I can imagine how tired you must be! I don't have any advice, but wish you good luck ...

(PS -- of course you can add me to your blogroll! I'm honoured! I like getting to know repeat visitors, it was just the massive onrush of random one-time-visit strangers that freaked me out ... :-> )