Ryder has faced and overcome many fears in the past couple of years. He is no longer afraid of sand, cats, or swimming pools. He is not afraid of all little dogs (although it took him a while to decide not to be afraid of Lyndsay and Jenna's poodle who was staying at Kyle and Kellee's house the other day). And, as far as I know, he isn't afraid of bunnies anymore, either. And not only is he no longer afraid of Santa, he looks forward to seeing him all year long.
All of these fears have been alleviated just by Ryder growing up (and lots of encouragement from Mommy, Daddy, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and friends about courage and bravery :) But Ryder has developed some new fears that were quite unexpected.
I was getting him ready to go get his hair cut (which Ryder is now okay with, but Mommy is a little afraid of since our wonderful hair stylist has moved far, far away), and I was talking to him while he was picking out his clothes. I like to ask him questions just to hear his answers, and there are many times the answer I expect is not the answer I get. This was most definitely one of those times. "Ryder, do you want short hair or long hair," I asked. He looked at me in horror and said, "I want short hair. If I have long hair it will get stuck in a tree and then I would die." Hmmm. I had never considered that point before. I wonder if Mothers and Fathers across the nation have ever considered using the story of Absalom from II Samuel 18 to convince their sons that having long hair is not just a fashion preference, but a real and deadly danger! I knew that Ryder's Wednesday night Bible class had been studying about David, but I was quite surprised to hear the application that Ryder put to the story of Absalom. So we went and got Ryder's hair cut. Short. No dangers of it getting stuck in a tree and less likely to stick up all over the place after sleeping on it.
But his fears regarding long hair apparently weren't over then.
I have been taking English style riding lessons at Bayview Farm for several weeks now with my friend April. And then Cody's mom started taking lessons, too. We love it, and it so much more fun that we are taking the lessons together. For Mother's Day, Cody ordered me a pink riding helmet (All on his own, as a surprise, and it was very sweet and perfect!). The helmet was delayed in shipping, but showed up the day of my next lesson. Cody had to go to work, so Gigi was going to keep Ryder with her after her lesson at the farm and watch as April and I rode. Ryder has never been scared of horses, and he was fine with his Gigi and his mom riding a horse. He is okay with the fact that they are bigger than we are, stronger than we are, and weigh more than we do (which is a good thing :) However, as we were leaving, he had a very serious concern regarding his mother riding a horse: "But Mommy, your hair is long and it could get stuck in a tree!" Now, I had been concerned about falling off or having my foot stepped on, but I had never stopped to think about the dangers of long hair. Luckily, I had just gotten my very own pink helmet, and I put it on and showed Ryder that my helmet would protect me from getting my hair stuck in a tree (which is what riding helmets are for after all, right?) . He is a big fan of helmets anyway, so the helmet solved all fears of Mommy riding a horse. And after my lesson, he even let my instructor put my helmet on him, and he rode from the arena to the barn.
I haven't heard anymore about the dangers of long hair lately, but it seems that I may have to step up my reasoning skills when Ryder is afraid of something. We were walking to our car the other night and it was dark (and Ryder had no headlamp, flashlight or even shiny shoes to help us see...although there were plenty of streetlamps, but apparently that doesn't count). Ryder told me he was scared of the dark. I started to tell him that he wasn't scared of the dark, but instead, I just asked him if he wanted his Daddy to carry him. He gave me a funny look, and said, "But it will still be dark." And he was right. His daddy carrying him would not solve the problem of it being dark. I am definitely going to need to work on my Mommy's solutions to scary situations.
The first time Ryder watched Monsters, Inc. he sat in Cody's lap, and if Cody would move his arm from around him, he would pull it back down. And he loved to watch Rudolph, but he would crawl into my lap every time the snow monster appeared. Now, he wields his foam sword, and says, "Mommy, I'm protecting you." He thinks he's protecting me from dragons, and monsters, and General Grieve-e-us and all sorts of scary creatures. He has no idea that waitingforRyder's next new fear or his next show of bravery, either one displayed in such sweet childish innocence, is protection against so much that is wrong with the world.....Like boys with long hair, of course :)
(Pictures: 1)Ryder no like sand from our vacation in Destin. 2)Ryder getting his hair cut. This was from the time before when he went with Brody and Kyle and Kellee took pictures. 3) Ryder watching Gigi's riding lesson at BayView. 4) Ryder on Auditor with my new pink helmet that keeps my hair from getting tangled in trees :)