Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Debugging

Last week I laid LittleBear down on the carpet in her bedroom to change her diaper.

She felt something tickling her neck, reached behind her and pulled up a stink bug.

Do you know of these stink bugs? Around here, they are a plague. They are stupid, they fly, they're everywhere. They're also harmless (I think), but fairly big (think beetle sized).

LittleBear's reaction?

The Scream Pictures, Images and Photos

Instant insane hysteria.
Words can not begin to describe the trauma. She cried for TWO days. She would be sitting quietly, and suddenly remember, and begin crying again. I had no idea that an 18 month old's recall and short term memory could last that longAny spot, large or small, from the ceiling to the floor to a spot on my shirt or a smudge on her leg would have her in absolute hysterics again.


She learned a new word, and began running around the house crying "BUG", pointing at the ceiling.

A week later a housefly flew past her in the hallway and she ran to me, crying and clinging as if her life depended on it.

Thus began our Bug Desensitization Program (B.D.P.)

Phase I of the B.D.P. involved drawings of bugs with happy faces.
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See the happy buggies?

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Then we proceeded on to bugs of a slightly more threatening ilk:

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Ooooh, angry buggies....but it's okay, right?

Phase II: A nice little stuffed buggy. More realistic than the drawings, but not moving.

We look, we touch, we kiss.

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Depending on your patient's progress at this point, you can ease into it a little further. Perhaps a viewing of "A Bug's Life". Bugs teamed with anthropomorphism--a sure fire desensitization technique.

My patient was responding well, so we proceeded directly into:

Phase III: A trip outside to visit the buggies. Slowly, slowly...baby steps (literally). We watched actual, living buggies from afar.

Phase IV: A large step: we said "hi" to the buggies. Acknowledging their existence. Interaction on a human to bug level.

Progress is slow and steady with the B.D.P., folks. Slow and steady.

Finally, a landmark day. An actual stinkbug flying around in the house. It lands on the counter. This is it, here we go.

Ultimate intervention time: touching the buggy.

We breathe deep. It takes a few tries. LittleBear was brave, but her hand twitched. She tried, but pulled her hand back in fear. Finally, after seeing Mommy touch the bug a few times, she gathered her courage, and success!

Yes, the B.D.P. has been a success my friends.
 And I am the proud parent of a bug loving baby.

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(Please ignore the film of snot and mac & cheese surrounding her face. I'm actually a good mom, pinky swear)

However, as with any gains in life, there are always rebounds.
Ripple effects, if you will: some good, some bad.

In this case? Well, LittleBear is weaning. It's time, it's hard, but we're doing it. She has a dependancy. And we're going slow. Today she lifted my shirt and looked, but no drinking.

She "ugged" them (hugged).

She pointed to her source of food and comfort for the last 18+ months.

"Bug", she said.
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