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.


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18 Thoughts to “Scawy”

  1. Corinn

    He is ridiculously cute.

  2. Good deal! Glad he got through it in his own time. Now the Toy Story team can be complete again! He is such a cute little guy.

  3. Porter also now thinks some things are “scawy.” For Porter it is loud noises–dogs barking or just a noise that startles him a bit.

  4. Good for him! It is pretty interesting how he worked though it. Kids and their minds are totally fascinating. 🙂

  5. GENIUS! Either 1)write a book so I can read it when Levi is going through this, or (even better) 2) Move to Birmingham and be my next door neighbor so I can just run over to the fence and ask you

  6. Nicole

    My now 3 yr old daughter had the same issue when she was 2. Her nemesis was Yo Gabba Gabba (who can blame her!) My son got one of the…what the heck are they anyway?!?…for Christmas and my daughter flipped out! We had to put it/him/thing in the garage. Everyday she would ask, yo gabba gabba in garage? Yes, Kendall, in the garage. No skin off my back, I don’t have to watch that, ugh, show!

  7. I love how many parenting lessons I learn through you, even if they are a year and a half in advance. Also, ZORG WANT SNACK? and ZORG NEED BATH? totally cracked my husband and me up. That Beanie!!

  8. One more–I’m sure his shirt in the last photo says “B is for Bike,” but wouldn’t it be cool if it said “B is for Bean”?

  9. Meredith J

    The little girl I used to nanny (she was 1-2 at the time) LOVED watching Snow White, which to me is the scariest Disney Princess movie there is! That mean old queen/witch lady is SO SCARY! Well her favorite person in the movie WAS the witch! Her name was “Scawy” and she usually only wanted to watch the parts with “scawy” in them! And at the end when “scawy” falls off the cliff and the huge boulder falls on top of her, she would just says OH NO SCAWY! Scawy fall down! It was the cutest thing ever… i just never understood her love of that nasty looking witch lady! Kids are very silly and very smart!

  10. Yay Bean! This story made me chuckle quite a few times, because it’s so interesting how kids work through their fears and how afraid we are on their behalf! Personally, whenever I was scared of something, my mom would come in my room and put that toy in a “time out” for scaring me. I believe there were also several invisible dinosaurs put in time out over the years as well. Worked for me!

  11. That’s amazing. I know nothing about kids and I just find that story fascinating!

  12. Thats such a great idea to sit back and let him process everything himself. While reading it I wondered if I would be able to recognize my child going through these mental stepping stones before I interfered good naturedly.
    Cabin Fever in Vermont

  13. I think Bean is pretty brave. I couldn’t show Toy Story to my oldest until she was six or so. We also didn’t watch Little Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast or . . . well, much of anything because that stuff FREAKED HER OUT. Michael’s a champ!

  14. I think I’ll file this one under “posts about Bean that I need to read a year from now.” There are a lot of those posts. 🙂

  15. My 3.5 year old is the same way. I have found that it ebbs and flows. Sometimes he’s scared of everything and other times he’s not. I try to walk that fine line between protecting him and then being ridiculous. For example, yes ugly halloween masks are scary. Obviously, I’m not going to buy one and chase him around the house and we’ll probably go around that isle in Target. But come October, when our favorite local restaurant decorates for Halloween, I’m not going to spend the whole month avoiding it. I think you’re doing a great job of helping Bean through his fears. And just as a side not, Bean is so cute in these pictures.

  16. That should be “aisle” not “isle”, and I meant to say “side note” not “side not”.

  17. You have such great insight Katie, and it seems like you have a tremendous amount of patience. Thanks for writing these guides on raising a toddler for all of us our here who haven’t had to deal with this yet, but one day {soon} will need to know that it’s completely normal and totally not weird to yell things at a kitchen drawer with your kid who needs to work through some stuff.

  18. WOW Your little man is so mature and so brave! I am well aware that I don’t actually know him but I am so proud of him!

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