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Weirding people out since 2006.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


My 9yo is scared spitless of coyotes. This is a rather recent development and he has even convinced himself that there is one that sleeps on his bed when he's not there.

Considering that this is a child raised in what could comparitively be called the city and we now live out in the country, his fear of coyotes is not completely without foundation. Y'see, each night, after the moon rises and when it gets really dark the coyotes start to howl. Thing is where we live you can hear anything for miles and we most certainly hear the coyotes.

In fact, I enjoy going out on the porch just to listen to their baying. I find it peaceful, better than eerie silence and most certainly an improvement on incessant chatter. When I listen closely, I can even tell which coyote is answering which one. Or maybe not, but I like to think I can.

Either way, I've come across a bunch of parenting articles that would say that my 9yo has "issues" with coyotes. To me, this just sounds like an excuse to say "It's okay to be fearful." I disagree. Which is not to say that feeling fear is bad, only that catering to it is wrong. In fact, if I did that with my 9yo, it would be all I'd be doing, so I tried a different approach.

For a few nights I took him outside with me to let him listen to the coyotes howl. The first night I could tell it took everything in his power to keep from running inside. He clung to me and shook like a leaf whenever he heard one of the howls and I even told him we could go inside whenever he wanted to but he shook his head and just clung tighter.

Each night, he clung less and listened more. Until, finally, this night he was guessing the question and answer pattern right along with me. He even made up little conversations as to what they may have been saying:

"It's hot toniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight!"
"I knooooooooooooooow!"
"I wish the wind would bloooooooooooooooow!"
"Me tooooooooooo!"

Back and forth like that until I knew he was ready for bed.

This is not to say that he wouldn't be afraid of a coyote if he saw one face to face, but he should be. Being able to enjoy the howling of a group of coyotes that are nowhere to be found? Well, that's just enjoying nature at its finest.

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