I blogged a couple months ago about the latest change in Bean recently – he’s become scared of “scawy” things. He didn’t like scary cartoons. He even got scared at Winnie the Pooh when they went into the darker part of the Hundred Acre Woods. But the one that he didn’t like the most was Zorg from Toy Story. How do I know this? Because we were in the Toy Story shop at Disney and Bean practically scaled up my body when he saw a stuffed Zorg on a display. We went back to that same store a few weeks later and, though he was better, Bean was still really scared.
About a week after that, a friend gave Bean a set of Toy Story figurines for his birthday and guess who was front and center in the pack?
Our friend, Zorg.
Bean flipped out, so we threw Zorg in a kitchen drawer and Bean went on about his merry way.
But a few days later, Bean started talking about Zorg. A lot. We’d be driving down the road and out of the blue he would say something like, “Zorg scawy.” And so I’d say something back like, “Zorg isn’t scary, buddy. Zorg is just pretend. He isn’t real.” And so Bean started saying things like, “Zorg no scawy. Zorg no real.” Whenever he’d say something about Zorg, I’d talk in a singsong voice about “silly Zorg,” and Bean continued to repeat his mantra: “Zorg no scawy. Zorg no real.”
This went on for about a week. And then it intensified. Bean started talking about Zorg even more, but now he was saying things like, “Zorg and Buzz friends” and “silly Zorg!” For the most part, I kept my mouth shut. Clearly, Bean was working through this issue and except for the occasional affirmation that Zorg was pretend and Zorg wasn’t scary, I pretty much let Bean talk through it himself.
Then, one morning I was getting breakfast ready and Bean walked over to the drawer where I’d thrown Zorg on his birthday.
“See Zorg?” Bean asked.
“Okay,” I said, nonchalantly. But inside my thoughts were reeling. If I pulled this scary guy out, would I need to put Bean in therapy now or wait until he was a bit older?
So, I pulled Zorg out. And Bean whimpered a little, so I put him back.
“Bye bye, Zorg!” I said happily as I closed the drawer. And then we moved quickly on to breakfast.
But Bean kept going back to the drawer and asking to see Zorg. So, I’d bring him out, Bean would whimper and tell me to put him back, and then we’d go do something else. This went on for about a week. Sometimes, when we’d be in the kitchen, Bean and I would talk to Zorg in the drawer. I wouldn’t get him out, but we’d stand right at the drawer and yell things in there to him like, “ZORG WANT SNACK?” and “ZORG NEED BATH?” Bean thought that was hysterical.
And then one day when I took Zorg out of the drawer, Bean didn’t whimper. He kind of nervously laughed and said, “Bean hold Zorg?” So, I put Zorg in his hand. Bean held up Buzz in the other hand and before I knew it, he was playing with Zorg and Buzz on the kitchen floor.
It is crazy how much Bean is learning these days, but it’s equally crazy how much he is teaching me these days. I learned from him about this whole Zorg situation that being scared of something for a toddler is really more about not being familiar with that something. I also learned that you can’t rush toddlers. They really are little people. They have their own needs and they move at their own pace. Had I pushed Zorg on Bean and insisted that he was just being silly, I would have really made things harder for Bean. He just needed his own time to warm up to that unfamiliar thing.
Toddlers fascinate me. They go through almost the exact same emotions and process things very similarly to how adults do, I think. But they do it at such a slowed pace that it seems overly dramatic. But I bet if I slowed down my emotions to a snails pace, I probably have the same reactions to things as Bean does, I am just able to process things quicker.
Isn’t that incredible? Our minds are fascinating things!
I’m sure we’ll encounter even more things that Bean is scared of – and they’ll probably be things that I can’t put away in a kitchen drawer for him. But I’m glad Zorg was our first obstacle. So is Bean.