Friday, November 19, 2010

Isaiah's Globophobia

At my birthday party this August, Isaiah unfortunately suffered a traumatic experience. 

Do you see the tip of that red balloon up by his forehead?  That's the balloon that he had taken off one of my birthday presents.  After he had enjoyed my mother's heavenly cake (for which I like to think he is thanking God for in this photo), that balloon ended up getting untied from his chair and made its way into my toddler's hand.

And then he let go.

It rose and rose until it was no longer in sight and Isaiah lost it.  He wailed like I had never heard him cry before.  It was awful.  He was inconsolable for at least an hour and the whole drive home we tried to tell him that the balloon had flown up to play with the moon.

For the next few weeks, Isaiah had to know where the moon was at all times.  He would ask, "Where moon go?" every time we were in the car.  He would check for the position of the moon before going to bed at night.  He absolutely had to have reassurance that his balloon was safe with the moon.

To make a long story short, Isaiah has an extremely irrational fixation on balloons.  When I bought him a helium balloon as a treat a couple months ago, he worked himself up into a fit of hysterics from his fear that it would fly away.  At both Micah's and his own birthday party, he hasn't been able to handle being around them!  I've blown up bundles of helium balloons and tied them down to suckers, but Isaiah is absolutely terrified that they will fly away, even if we are indoors.  He clutches them so tightly his knuckles turn white and he freaks out if anyone tries to touch them. 

Where it gets really strange is that he needs so badly to know those balloons are safe that he has accumulated a little collection of balloons in his room that he keeps "safe and sound."

They are tied to his bookcase and you better believe he checks them every day to make sure they are safe.  See that cow balloon at the top left that's wedged between the shelf and the wall?  That's the one I got him Labor Day weekend.  He was so upset that we had to secure it in his room.

The green and yellow balloons at the bottom are the two he "rescued" from his birthday party on Sunday.  The five bunches of helium balloons I had assembled had to be removed to the garage before the birthday boy had a nervous breakdown. 

I even checked out a book from the library called Where Do Balloons Go? and it has become one of Isaiah's favorites.  Almost every night, we read about how the balloons get together for a big balloon dance, have races with rockets, and mingle in the sky. 

What else can I do here?  Does anyone else have a child who is dealing with an irrational fear?  How can I help him overcome it?

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