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Are you afraid of the dark? [Aug. 25th, 2004|10:24 pm]
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These days, the baby doesn't like the dark. We went to the museum and tried to go through the gem gallery. I thought he would like it; the room is dim and the gems are in lit cases which make them glow - cobalt, ruby, emerald, amethyst.

At first, he was hesitant about entering the gallery. He made it about halfway through the room before he became nervous, then agitated.

"Take me out of here." he told us. "The dark is coming closer. The dark wants to get me."

He started asking to sleep with the light on. Soon, he needed the overhead light and the small bedside lamp. I figured that eventually we'd have to bring in a floor lamp and string up some old Christmas lights to satisfy him. Instead, he simply stopped going to bed. He wanders the house droopy-eyed until nearly midnight, peering out the windows and saying "I don't want it to be dark" until he finally collapses, exhausted with his vigil.

Where does it come from, this fear of the dark? Nothing bad has happened to him in the dark. The room he sleeps in is lit with an unearthly orange glow by an enormous vapor lamp outside the window, one of the many legacies some previous owner has left for us, so he's never had to wake in the night to a dark room.

I think the dark gets a bad rap. Dark is friendly; it presses close. Dark is for whispers; dark is for dreams.


From: (Anonymous)
2004-08-26 09:31 am (UTC)

Race Memory Perhaps?

Mary here. I was just toying with the idea that the fear of the dark that manifests at this age is, perhaps, a race memory thing. Our long-ago ancestors, i.e. cavemen, knew that "the dark" meant danger. You could get lost; or worse, eaten. Maybe something in the psyche gets triggered at this age to fear the dark, so that the toddler; who is now very mobile and prone to wandering off, won't leave the safety of the "cave" at night. Anyway, try to have patience. This, too, shall pass. Sooner with some kids than others.
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[User Picture]From: spinthemoon
2004-08-26 06:58 pm (UTC)

Re: Race Memory Perhaps?

Funny you should mention that - race memory was the was I was leaning, too. I mean, it just doesn't make any sense for people nowadays to be concerned about the dark one way or the other.
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-08-27 02:53 pm (UTC)

Re: Race Memory Perhaps?

Maybe the dark isn't what the baby is afraid of. Maybe he's afraid of what might hide in the darkness.

Pillow-stealing alliigators, for instance.
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From: spritzcourt
2004-08-27 10:16 am (UTC)
What about the boogyman? Doesn't he only come out in the dark?
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