I may never know the trauma my little boy experienced at an early age while in the countryside of Ethiopia. Who knows what creatures stalked him &/or his family day or night. (I've heard that hyenas are prevalent in the villages). Our first inclination that things were not right was seeing his extreme fear of cute and cuddly toys like baby dolls, stuffed animals, "Little People", smiling cars with eyes, etc. Things we thought he would love to play with just set off screams of fear and trembling in our child. Needless to say, he freaked out when he laid eyes on our two large dogs for the first time. He is slowly becoming OK with them in the house as long as they keep their distance. He is also realizing that the dolls are not real (although they do look alive), the toys are just plastic, and the stuffed animals won't hurt him. I remind him occasionally by tapping on the dolls' head and hands to show how hard they are and then tap on his soft, warm arm to show him the difference. This worked wonders. Our breakthrough moment was today during playtime with big sister. This video says it all! (He's also saying quite a few words). Way to go Gabriel! We are so proud of you! You have conquered one of your fears! Now I pray that his nighttime fears dissipate and his sometimes restless, noisy dreaming subsides.
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