Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dealing with Fear

I used to think that Noah had no fear.  I used to worry that he would do crazy things as result of this lack of fear (too young for common sense?).  His first 3 trips to WDW, we could do anything, as he didn't realize what was going on and didn't think about fear.  
Piper, 1 and Noah, 6 months. No fear here
At 25 months old in January, he started to show fear.  With that, I mean that during Peter Pan, he didn't smile and as we were exiting the ride, he said "scared. Ride again."   Since, we've watched Peter Pan several times, as well as a few minutes of Jake and the Neverland Pirates.  Peter Pan is an absolute must for me, so I  need to make sure his fears won't keep me from it!  He also really disliked the Astro Orbiter, though I only took him on it after a lot of begging.  That one, I don't mind skipping - too fast, too high, and at a very strange angle, it's not my favorite attraction alone or with a little one! 

25 months.. not a fan of meeting Winnie the Pooh!
But now that we're reaching 2.5 years of age, fear is becoming more common.  Thunder now really scares him, even once waking him from a deep sleep and into a screaming state.  Of course, here in the D.C. area, we've had a few doozies lately, so I understand the fear, but it does make me wonder, what will be of our next trip?

Will fireworks scare him?  I wanted to watch fireworks on the 4th of July, but with fireworks starting at 9:30 p.m. and a regular bedtime of 7, we knew that just wasn't going to happen.  The booms are loud and after the terror in his eyes when thunder boomed over the weekend, I will be interested to see what he will think when the booms are accompanied by beautiful fireworks.  The only show he has seen was Illuminations which he loved, but that was a year ago, so who knows what 3 year old Noah will think.  I'm hoping that little man Z, who will be 10 months at his first trip to The World won't notice them, similar to Noah's earliest reactions, but only time will tell.
Another fear that we might encounter will be on "thrill" rides.  At a recent carnival, Noah rode in a car ride designed for young children by himself.  We didn't realize before we put him on the ride that it whipped the children around a corner.  I promise he wasn't the only kid crying in fear at that ride!  Would it have been a different experience had we been in the car with him?  I'm not sure.
Beware the Speedway...

I'm pretty sure we'll find out on his first roller coaster- The Barnstormer with the Great Goofini has a height requirement that he has already surprised (35" and we might have been able to try it in January, had it not been closed for renovation. We think he may even be tall enough to ride some of the other "thrill" rides - Kali River Rapids has a height requirement of 38" and he's now 36".  Will he like it?  I'm hoping to try the Barnstormer before we consider any other "big kid" rides to test the water. 

What about The Haunted Mansion?  In the past, that's been a no-brainer.  He didn't understand ghosts or monsters - heck, his first trip, I nursed him during the ride!  One thing to consider - when my nephew, now 7, first went to WDW for his 5th birthday, that was his first attraction of the day.  It scared him so much that he didn't want to do anything else for the rest of the day.  We'll make sure to start with happier Fantasy attractions before we work our way to the scary ones, maybe even planning those immediately before a meal or break. 
Will Madame Leota scare a 3 year old Noah?
Obviously all children are different - but keep what their fears may do before you think "oh, my 3 year old is tall enough for the Tower of Terror, let's go."  They may love it, or simply melt down to the point of no return (if you don't believe me, look on youtube for videos of this.  They are extensive.).  If it's a possibility, head to a local carnival and try miniature versions of these rides - our local carnival had a smaller free-fall ride for children, which had 8 kids screaming at a time the entire day.  Definitely some children will enjoy them, but even the seemingly fearless may not!

Have you experienced fears in the park?  What attractions do you avoid and how do your children handle their fears?  I'd love to hear your experiences both good and bad!

1 comment:

  1. My two and a half year old is the same way. Totally fearless... most of the time. She got a little nervous on Haunted Mansion last month, but we told her it was silly scary and she seemed OK. She absolutely did not like Illuminations. She sat bravely with her fingers in her ears the first time. The second time that week when we happened to be in the park at 9PM (but planning to leave), she said "No fireworks, go to the hotel!"
    However, she LOVED Barnstormer! Also, she is the only 2 year old I know who gets just as excited to see the villains as the princesses. She ran squealing towards the Wicked Queen in Hollywood studios, she clapped excitedly when Maleficent showed up at the castle show (both when she was 14 months and 30 months), and she told me she didn't want to "help" Jake and the Neverland Pirates because she likes Hook!
    I think every kid and every attraction is different. You just have to let them know that it's ok and they're safe!