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“You’re scared?”


“Of what?”


“Like, you’re seeing dead people or you’re just scared of the other customers around us?”


“Er… okay. Well, you know, this is Chapters and I’m not the only parent running out of places to go when the weather is cold, so there are people. It’s a fact of life.”


“Yeah, what do you want me to do about it? No one is even paying attention to you. People are minding their own business. Go play.”


Oh, I’m not heartless and trust me, I would know if Mark was agoraphobic. But lately, he has been scared of pretty much everything—or so he claims.

I’m a loving parent, a maid (“oh oh… mess!”), an authority figure (“non, I said!”), an architect (“see, add more Duplo blocks and that’s a house!”), a nurse (“… and this is why we pick up Duplo blocks, so that we don’t trip on them, okay, I’ll blow a kiss on your foot”), a teacher (“so, what’s after ‘one’?”), a cook (“do you want ham with your pasta?”), a stylist (“I don’t think you are supposed to put pants on your head, Mark”), an aesthetician (“it’s… nail-cutting time!”)…

… and now I’m a freaking Ghostbuster.

Yes, because Mark isn’t only scared of people (or hands…)—he is scared of monsters too.

It started with the wolf book. My mum sent us a French classic, a twist on the Three Little Pigs story. Halfway through the book, there is a 3-D pop up of the wolf, his mouth wide open, showing teeth. Mark was terrified the first time he saw it.

I understand. I guess it can be scary, and my father, a wise man, has always told me that “you respect people’s fears” (I think that was after realizing that buying me a mouse as my first pet wasn’t a great idea since my mum is terrified of them).

So I took Mark’s fear seriously. I told him he could hide the wolf if he wanted to.

This is why it’s been three months that every time I pick up new undies in my drawer, I have to lift the book.

But Mark was also fascinated with the wolf, and he started to look for more “monsters”. And his definition of a “monster” is pretty broad. We don’t need to show him Resident Evil, a guy wearing a ski mask is a monster. And he doesn’t avoid “monsters” either, he wants to be scared.

Toddlers are complex little human beings.

When I was a kid, I was scared of crabs (mostly because my guy friends would fish them and throw them at me) and most large insects, such as beetles. Oh, and I was terrified of mosquitoes. There was something sinister, I thought, being in bed, lights off, and hearing the insect buzzing around, knowing that I soon as I’d stopped moving, he would probably land on my skin and suck me dry. My parents spent many nights killing mosquitoes for me, until one day, my mom got sick of it and I was left dealing with it. I survived the night and they never bothered me much afterwards.

These days, I’m scared of normal stuff: people around me getting hurt, daycare centres going bankrupt, not making enough money, dying, not being a good enough mother, running out of time, my mother-in-law and forgetting important stuff.

I’m not scared of monsters, so I’m a great monster exterminator.

“Is there a monster in the closet?”

“Check. Mommy, CHECK!”

“Nope. No monster.”

“Check here.”


Now, I don’t want the ghostbusting to get out of control either, so I’m encouraging Mark to talk about his fears and we figure out what’s really scary (i.e. an actual monster) and what’s just silly (being scared of people).

Hopefully we will get somewhere… like in bed on time?


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. How interesting, both my nephews went through this EXACT thing. I wonder if it is the same with girls, or do they just surround themselves with princess things?

  2. Que te dire… michoco aime jouer à se faire peur aussi, il demande toujours au gardien de lui faire le gros lion et après il hurle/pleure pour qu’il arrête… Lui aussi agresse à peu près tout ce qui bouge avec son rugissement… Par contre il n’a pas trop de peur, à part les dames, il ne veut saluer aucune dame et se cache dans mes jupes/mon cou. En revanche les hommes pas de soucis ! Mais sinon je trouve que (pour l’instant) il gère bien ses peurs, il les exprime, on en parle, passe à autre chose. Mis à part le fait qu’il s’endort derrière la porte de sa chambre (très pratique pour l’ouvrir afin de le recoucher dans son lit d’ailleurs !!!). Pas toujours facile de comprendre ce qui se trame derrière leurs peurs… Rassurer, sans en faire trop pour ne pas empirer…

  3. OHMYGOD mosquitoes at night are the worst. Like, I can’t see you, and you want my blood, so just suck it and be off. As long as there aren’t 100, I’ll take a few bites just to stop the horrible buzzing!

  4. “a styl­ist (“I don’t think you are sup­posed to put pants on your head, Mark”)”

    C’etait tres drole 🙂

  5. This reminded me of a dream my sister had one day long long ago, when we were still kids. And she was traumatized by this dream and remembered it until now.

    In her dream, we were in our old house in Manila. She was in her bedroom, and somehow, suddenly, there was a snake coming out of a hole in the wall of her bedroom. It was about to attack her, and she shouted for help. Mom came, but Mom was so lazy, and sleepy too, so Mom asked me if I could deal with the snake instead. I on the other hand, faked it and said I couldn’t see any snake. Mom was being lazy and passing over her responsibilities to me, and I was being a mean older brother. And in the middle of this, my sister kept shouting and screaming for help because neither of the two older people in the room wanted to deal with the snake that kept getting closer to her to attack.

    When she woke up, she was so mad at me for being an annoying brother to her in her dream!

    • Wow, that’s quite a vivid dream! It’s funny, I can imagine you saying “no, there is no snake” instead of admitting you don’t want to deal with it. I don’t mean it in a bad way, it’s just the intellectual process fits you 🙂

  6. My cousins son was really scared of zombies.. he is under 5 so not sure where he heard about zombies! Anyway, my cousin got an old spray bottle, filled it with water and put a label on it that said Zombie spray. When he was scared she asked him if he wanted to use her Zombie spray which he can spray in his room to keep the zombies away.. she went on to say she thought he was old enough now to use the special spray. And it worked a treat!! She took a photo of him asleep with the zombie spray in hand!

  7. LOL that pop-up book is very jumpy!
    i like what your father said about respecting people’s fears.It is good that you are acknowledging it and helping him be at ease. Hopefully it does not last long. Fears can be crippling. I am still dealing with my childhood fears.

      • Fear of heights and dark. The dark one is the tough one. For a long time, i slept with light on even as an adult. Then, i got a dog and the fear lessen a bit. Now that i don’t have my dog anymore, i have to work around it. For example, i have shear curtains in the bedroom so i can still see a bit of moonlight at night. When we sleep in hotels, i have to open the curtains a bit (even if we are on the first floor close to the parking lot). One time, we went to a B&B and their curtains were not working for me so i asked my husband to leave the fireplace on all night. You think it would be romantic, but it got so hot in the room that my husband was sweating profusely (even though it was so cold outside) and i refused completely for him to end the fireplace. Poor husband! but he tries to help me.

        • It’s good that you acknowledge your fears and deal with them, though. Eh, we are all scared of something. I don’t like heights either. The funny thing is, fears come and go so with G. to protect you… maybe you won’t be scared of the dark one day 😉

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