Different children dislike different things. They’re also afraid of different things. The boogie man, critters under the bed and the dark seem to be common fears. But there are other things that cause panic in those little hearts. Clowns and people in character costumes cause chaos. Saint Nick’s ‘ho ho ho’ leaves many a child in tears and rickshaw men have them running in the opposite direction. Okay, the rickshaw phobia is actually my thing!

Just today I saw a little girl paralysed with fear as a pigeon approached her. Now I know those flea-infested winged-rats aren’t the most pleasant of all God’s creatures but to bring on a panic attack of this proportion was quite something to see.

A lot of children, more than one would expect, are frightened of dogs. Emma has grown up with four four-legged pets so they do not feature on her list of things to fear. In fact she is so not scared of them that she often approaches a strange pooch for a kiss and a cuddle. But not all dogs like children. And not all dogs like black children. We’ve told her that she needs to be careful because some dogs aren’t licking because they like her. They’re licking to see if she tastes good.

As a mom I’ve noticed children dislike textures. Emma hates slimy squishy things. She’ll eat a banana as long as she can do it Cleopatra style – taking bites while someone stands holding it. Avocados are a no-no. An avo is slimy AND squishy. Paw-paw, no way! Jelly scares her. It’s slimy and squishy and anything that wobbles like that can’t be trusted. I wouldn’t say she’s scared of wet surfaces, but very much like me, she hates the feeling of wet floors and wet grass between her toes.

Some children seem afraid of their own shadows. And of others shadows too. Emma isn’t. This could be because from early on I told her that her shadow is her guardian angel and as long as her shadow’s there she’ll always be safe. Sadly I didn’t think about what would happen when her shadow disappears, like at night-time.

Oddly enough a lot of children are scared of the noises their bodies make. The first time Emma let loose with a wind she almost turned herself into a human pretzel to see where the awful sound had come from. This was nothing compared to the shock and horror she experienced when saw her own poo. It took one close encounter of the smelly kind for her to run screaming. Dad tried to make things better by giving it a name, Tommy the Turdle. We should have known from a previous experience that naming the unnameable would backfire. A friend of mine told her three year old son that her vajayjay was her ‘goggo’. Bad idea! Especially when the nanny ‘doomed’ an insect and declared that the ‘goggo’ was dead. He ran at his mother’s crotch screaming that no-one was allowed to kill his mommy’s ‘goggo’.

So back to Tommy the Turdle. Naming the pile of poo seemed to ease Emma’s fears until a recent visit to a reptile park. We were having a pleasant walk through the park looking at all of the inhabitants until we came across the turtle enclosure. Dad said “Look Emmie, turtles!” Emma looked at these chewing, walking turdles and went screaming in the other direction. Later she told us she didn’t like the poos with shells on.

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