It all started with a combine harvester. Now there's no end to it. "I Angst!" she exclaims, "I no want see xyz!" is added while she puts her clenched fists in front of her eyes. "XYZ scary!" is added in case we are a bit slow in getting the point.
My courageous, dare-devillish, derwish of a girl has discovered fear.
It is in fact scaring me.
There are night terrors, the worst of it when her beloved Spencer bear, the one that follows her on every trip, is cuddled snugly to her body every night, the one she feeds, cooks for, changes his bum for, shares her milk with, when this cuddly Spencer teddy, two nights ago, caused her major distress. "I no want Spencer in mein Bett! Spencer scary!" At 2am, I had to remove him from her bed. If Spencer bear can turn on her in a dream, nothing is sacred.
Books she enjoyed are now filled with fear inducing characters. She's scared of bears, lions, crocodiles, spiders, bees, flies, ants. Excitement and even joy now easily turn into heart wrenching panic. Every time we pass the fields where she saw a combine harvester a few weeks ago, she will elaborate on her fear of the "funny" yet "scary" vehicle that washes grass and makes it into Strohballen, a vehicle that may be lurking in the bushes to jump out at her. I remember the eye opening (or rather closing) incident when I spotted her then beloved combine harvester in a field next to the road. To do her a favour and share her excitement, I stopped the car right beside it. Her excitement, in a split second, turned to panic. Her eyes covered, tears streaming down her face, screams of anguish, "mummy drive!!!" leaving me in no doubt that mummy had had a bad idea.
From that day on, we've had regular night terrors, and irrational fears sprinkled through each day.
Let's hope it's just a phase. She's a confident, energetic girl and these sudden outbursts of fear seem at odds with her personality. Or maybe they aren't - maybe they too are a sign of the intensity of her emotions, whichever they are.