Counting Fears

It all began with a Magic School Bus episode. Yes, that’s right: an episode of the Magic School Bus terrified the Girl at the end.

“There was a ghost!” she explained frantically. “You couldn’t see it. It was a ghost on the telephone but you couldn’t see it. You could just here the voice.” She collapsed into my arms. “I was scared!”

Afterward, she was terrified to be alone. And to go upstairs alone while I was downstairs — out of the question.

We’ve been through this countless times. I take her around the house; we look in each room and confirm that there’s nothing — nothing — to be afraid of. This time, I took a different, slightly sarcastic approach. We walked around the house, and suddenly I shrieked in terror.

“Don’t go in there! Do not go in there! There’s a, a bed in there!” I turned around, then more horror. “Oh no! It’s a door knob!” I pivoted and fell to my knees. “Oh! Oh! Another door knob! They’re everywhere, and they’re terrifying!”

Then I stopped and looked at L. “It’s terrifying, isn’t it?” A slight smile was on her face.

“No. It’s a door knob.”

I stood up, and we went from room to room — the same game, again and again.

“Oh no! A towel!” and I ran out of the bathroom. Soon, she was positively giggling.

“And so what in the world is there to be afraid of? Isn’t it a bit silly?” I asked.

“No, you’re silly!”

One fear down, one to go.


This one has pleasure on the other side — what kid doesn’t love riding a bike?


Despite a few setbacks, it didn’t take too long to regain her bike balance.

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