A little bit ago I devoted a blog to my sons irrational fear of characters, especially of Chuckie Cheese. Recently there has been an update in this department so I figured I would share it with everyone. Ryan was invited to his first friend's birthday party at Chuckie Cheese. Now being a Mom who does not want my son to miss out on any activity just because he is afraid, I wanted him to go. Luckily we got the invitation about two weeks before the actual party so we had time to prepare.
Ryan wanted to go but I could tell he was very nervous. All of a sudden all his conversations revolved around Chuckie Cheese. He was drawing pictures of Chuckie Cheese in his classroom, having me rewind shows so he could watch the Chuckie Cheese commercials, and discussing the giant mouse with me at length. From what I could gather he wanted to play with his friends but he was terrified of the mouse saying hi to him. He knew that at the birthday parties there is always an appearance by the mouse.
Well I decided to do character training with Ryan. We are lucky enough to have season passes to Disneyland so one day when it was too crowded to wait in lines for rides, I bought the infamous "Disneyland autograph" book and we made the rounds. Now in the past when we have been at theme parks Ryan would scream and literally jump into my arms whenever he spotted a character. Even if the character was no where near him. We have been working on it and we have it now so Ryan could walk fast past the character and not make eye contact but he would not cry. He would get very tense. So I was expecting a disaster.
But when we made it to the front of the line to meet Dale the chipmunk Ryan came over and gave him a high five! I was shocked. It did take a minute for him to come over and I had to go over first and ask for Dale's autograph. Well after that Ryan was running around trying to get as many autographs as he could. He even posed for a picture with Pluto who had touched his head with his paw. Again I was expecting a disaster but Ryan laughed and talked about that moment for the whole week afterward. I was so proud of my little guy I couldn't stop smiling all day.
His big party was a few days after this so I was feeling pretty confident. I figured if he conquered the characters at Disneyland, Chuckie Cheese should be a piece of cake. Well we got there and Ryan ran off with his friends, not even acknowledging me. Again I was thrilled. But when it came time for the party Ryan started to get nervous, really nervous. He would not sit down to eat with his friends and keep running into the bathroom to hide because he was afraid that Chuckie Cheese was coming out. I tried to make a deal with him and told him I would stand with him in the back of the restaurant far away from Chuckie Cheese but he had to watch him. Well Ryan got too scared and ran into the bathroom and locked himself into the stall. I did not feel like crawling under the bathroom door, so I let him be. At the end though he finally unlocked his door and I brought him out to see the back of Chuckie Cheese as he walked away. After that Ryan was fine and enjoyed the rest of his time. Most of his friends did not even notice that he had left. Regardless I am proud of how far Ryan has come and I know we will conquer the last step soon.