The Fear That Shall Be Named

In Uncategorized on June 3, 2009 at 1:01 am

There was trouble in our basement. We bought the house last Halloween knowing that we would have water issues since the basement floor lacked a sump pit. In our neighborhood this is like sitting at the front row of a Gallagher show: you are going to get wet.

My friend Dave stopped by with a giant saw one day, and we sliced a rectangle into the concrete basement floor. Perhaps 150 lbs. of saturated clay later, we had dug a pit that was rapidly filling with what Dylan reverently calls the “icky water in the basement”. Rather than being a slave to the shop-vac every time it rains, I can now count on the pump to act like the leg holes on a diaper and stop leaks before they occur.

At about the same time, young Dylan began sticking his fingers in his ears. And not in a playful kind of way either, it was spooky to watch. I knew that this was serious as we had taught him not to stick anything in his ears other than his elbow, and it had worked well up to this point. Finally, the boy revealed what was bothering him. “I hear that noise in the basement,” he said.

It was the sump pump of course, so Janelle and I did our best to assure him that his fears were groundless. Bravely confronting the hole in the floor, Dylan was told that the pump gets the icky water out of the basement and that, “There is nothing to be afraid of.”

The fingers in the ear behavior has stopped, but the fear remains. Our two year old now has a name for his fear, and knows that he doesn’t need to be afraid of it, yet the fear remains. “I don’t need to be scared of that sump pump,” he will say apropos nothing at all. “Can we go look at that sump pump, Daddy?” he will ask as we are on our way out the door.

Some people are afraid of snakes. Others are afraid of flying. Most of us are afraid of death, loss, and not keeping up with the Joneses. We have names for our fears, and knowing that they are irrational and silly we continue to indulge in them. We tell our children that there is nothing to be afraid of, hoping against all odds that they never believe otherwise. For Dylan, there is a sump pump to be afraid of.

  1. […] recently taken to acting out the “Baker” counting video series.  Dylan possesses an irrational but very real fear of these videos, especially the part where the baker announces how many cakes he has, falls down […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: