Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:6-7

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Little Miss Muffet

Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey;
Along came a spider,
Who sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away.
My little Faith is a spunky, active, nine-year-old girl. She goes 90 miles an hour all day long, stopping only when forced to eat, and switching gears only when another family member's schedule requires her to. She goes from one activity to another, mostly outdoors from dawn to dusk.

But when the sun sets and bed time approaches, little Miss Faith turns into little Miss Muffet. While this little tom girl (she's equal parts prissy girl and active tom boy) plays outdoors all day, under a canopy of 80-year-old trees, digging in the dirt, running with her dog, once she gets into bed, she has an awful case of entomophobia (fear of insects). She lies in bed and not only imagines bugs in her room, on the walls and the ceilings, but she actually does find some. She calls her dad into her room several times before falling asleep to kill a tiny spider on the ceiling or a mosquito fluttering around the nightlight. Her eyes are very busy while she lies waiting for sleep to come.

Last night the situation came to a head.  She'd had a bad dream in the wee hours of the night before, one so bad she'd had to turn on the light and read books to avoid the images inside her head. When night came again, she was terrified of a bug in her room and sobbed hysterically over bedtime.

We tried everything we could think...bug spray around the perimeter of the room, holy water, prayers. I finally lost my patience and told her she was being unreasonable, that bugs are all over the outdoors -- of which she is not afraid -- and even if there were bugs in her room they won't hurt her, no more than a little bite on the leg. She finally fell sleep with all the lights on, but I know that this issue is not resolved -- not by a long shot.

So I'm asking you, my friends, if you have ever dealt with this situation and what suggestions you might have for us. My gratitude, in advance, for your responses.



  1. Oh, poor Faith and Faith's mommy! I have two children who have severe, almost debilitating bug fears and one who is my nighttime watchdog. Anything she sees or hears during the day will come back to haunt her at night if was even the slightest bit disturbing to her. I can imagine the agony of those two fears combined! With the bug fears, I have seen one child outgrow it, although he still doesn't like them very much, it's not an irrational fear anymore. The other one is still growing, so we're working on patience. I did find that reading about irrational fears in children and finding out that they are so totally normal helped me cope while waiting for them to outgrow them. Here is just one resource that might help. Also, remembering my own childhood, being so afraid of the dark that I slept with lights on, helped put their fears in perspective for me. So, basically, I can't really offer helpful advice, but tons of sympathy and prayers!

  2. What a struggle. I really have zero advice...besides buying her a bug net for over her bed. Decorate it with flowers and hang over her with lots of prayers. Maybe that will work????

  3. Oh, that was a nice post about her!!

    My first thought is to have her vacuum every day--to make sure there are no spiders!

    Also, a night light helps, because if there are spiders, the bugs tend to go to the light. At least that helped a little with my spider fearing child.

    (she didn't go for the vacuuming every day thing)

  4. Does she have a radio w/a cd player in her room? Perhaps you could put a CD for her to listen to. A book on CD or some soothing sacred music/classical music. We have a cd for our kids that we play at bedtime and it seems to allow them to focus on something instead of imagining things.

    I know, back when I had a hard time turning my brain off at bed time, I would turn on talk radio or in the winter, a hockey game, and fall asleep to that.

  5. Charlotte,
    I guess I should have mentioned that during the day she appears to have no bug phobia. Yesterday she was "playing" with a spider on the front porch. Of course, that could be a little of trying to overcome. It really becomes irrational at bedtime. I hate to psychoanalyze but I think it must have something to do with losing control during sleep. I will check out that link. Thanks!

  6. Christine,
    When you mention a bug net I realized that her canopy is actually netting (right now I think part of her fear is that bugs are in the netting, though she said "no" when I asked if she wanted me to take it down). I think, however, if we checked it every night for bugs, that just might work! Thanks.

  7. Jamie,
    Good idea about sweeping -- maybe right before bed. She has several night lights and all they do right now is allow her to spot any bugs that might be in the room!

  8. Beth,
    She does not have a CD player but that's a pretty easy fix. I will ask her about that suggestion. It's very doable!

  9. Aw..she is too cute! We have to overcome our fears of bugs around here every day. We try to educate ourselves on which ones can really hurt us and try to consider the rest of friends. I've been teaching the boys to catch them in jars and set them free. It helps us not freak out so much. I try. I stil don't like bugs. =l


I appreciate your comments -- sometimes I feel like I'm talking to myself!