We've managed to survive the "no" phase (granted, I don't think it will ever truly end) and the "mine" stage. But, the fear stage is something new to us.
With "no" Lynden didn't truly get a say, he just though he did. With "mine" we can explain "no, that's sister's, but she's sharing" or "yes that is yours but so-and-so is playing with it now". How do you justify a fear to a 2 1/2 year old?
At first it was just noises. Constantly we get asked "what's that noise?" but we can easily explain most noises. It's the people upstairs or it's a car or it's the heat. And in some cases we can show him - like when the heat comes on we take him to the vent and get him to hold his hand up to it. If we know it's a noise he knows we simply say "I don't know" and 99% of the time he'll tell us what the noise is. Like most kids loud noises don't go over well. If the dryer buzzes we get tears, if daddy cheers to loud at a Canucks goal we get tears, if Uncle screeches the tires on his truck we get hysterics (and rightfully so, I was standing right there and it was too loud for me). Yesterday he started with "monsters". When the dryer buzzed he said there was a monster in the dryer, so I lifted him up and opened the dryer to show him there were only clothes in the dryer. Thankfully, Bino (of Toopy and Bino) learns how to deal with monsters by ptttf-ing them, so we tell Lynden to do the same since it works great for Bino (I don't know if that's the right way to deal with it). It's easy to get mad at Lynden for some of them, but we must remember it's just a phase and to work with him on it.
But, the dark! Oh, I don't know how to deal with this one. There was a time that Lynden went to bed great, but lately (I'd say the last month or so) it's a fight. And now he's willing to get out of bed (he used to just sit there and call for us), so it's a lot of taking him back to bed at night, which starts the crying. And since Danny and I have very different ideas about how to handle the situation, so Lynden's not getting any consistency. And I don't know that I truly can complain about Danny's method since I have to deal with Alyssa during the night (benefits of having her feeding apparatus attached to me), but I prefer the method of letting him fall back asleep on his own (even if it means crying - the crying it out method works for me - I'll blog about this another time). If he gets out of bed, I'll walk him back into his room, tuck him in and ask what's wrong and, eventually, leave. The most common answer to "what's wrong?" is "I want daddy" - and the reason? Because daddy is a big ol softy, all Lynden has to say is "daddy lie down" and daddy lies down and falls asleep, which is what Lynden wants and he knows mommy won't. Oh how I remember when Lynden would sleep in his own bed, alone, most of the night - I prefer him to sleep in his own bed and if he needs to come to bed it be for the last bit (around 5am and on). I'm greedy and like my sleep, and with Alyssa I don't always get a restful night of sleep (we're trying to sleep train her to sleep in her own bed... it's not going well). And our bed is NOT big enough to have all 4 of us in it comfortably, even less so since it's not uncommon for Lynden to spread his legs and arms as far as they'll go or to find him sleeping sideways on a bed.
But I digress. The fear of the dark. We've got a nightlight in his room and leave a light in the kitchen on for him, but it doesn't seem to help at all. He doesn't like going into rooms he's been in a million times (bathroom, our room) if it's dark, he's quick to say "dark in there" and ask for a light. Which is fine. But how do you get him to be comfortable with it enough that he's not afraid at bedtime? And you add in a noise and it's a recipe for hysterics every time. And since Danny's the one dealing with it most nights I don't know that Lynden is learning how to deal with it. I want Lynden to know we'll be there for him when he's scared but I also want him to learn how to deal with any fears he has. Can I have my cake and eat it too?