we live in a state that is home to a massive hunting culture. i don't care for it, neither does grant necessarily, but we aren't vegetarians and people here are pretty good about hunting for use and protecting "wild utah" as they call it. so we're like, whatev.
cate, however, starts crying every time she sees a deer by the side of the road because she is worried someone will shoot it and it's "sooooo beeeauuutiful!" in conjunction with her love of living wild creatures, she despises animal trophies. hmm, despise isn't the right word. it's more like terrified. phobic. full of hate.
she won't play at friend's houses who have mounted heads. she won't eat at restaurants that use taxidermy as art. she won't go to sporting good's stores or museums that display it. and yes, it is the first thing she asks when we announce plans. and yes, she makes us call to verify. and yes, we've tried forcing her: she screams bloody murder, death grips our necks with fingernails digging in, and starts having a child size anxiety attack.
so, i understand her passion, (and drama, for that matter, i have my own issues), but we can't have her growing up afraid of inanimate objects, either. also, you'd be surprised how many restaurants think taxidermy goes well with their whole design- bet you haven't even noticed, but look around. it's everywhere. ok, so we started the basic psychology slow immersion thing. we made her watch mounted in alaska until it didn't bug her.
step two: this tiny bronze deer head for our keys was purchased. portrayals in bronze ecetera, are almost as terrifying to her as the real thing:
we bought it and put it up while she wasn't home. she fa-lipped out when she saw it. but we said it's staying, so name it and give it a little pet. she went to her room, slammed the door, and slid menacing notes under. basically, they said to bring her meals to her, she's never coming out again.
of course that got old. so she stormed out with this post it on her forehead: "coming out just for a while." let's just skip the drama of the next 48 hours and look at the happy ending...
cate is bff with our little antonio bandeeras. she can't wait to pet him after school. so, there you have it. real live proof that exposure therapy for phobias really does work. what should be the next level? not sure if she's ready for the bean museum yet. maybe hold a real antler till she stops screaming?
also, i've been working on my mouse phobia. it is crazy bad. i'm only on step one where cate and i watch cinderella and say in my mind over and over: gus gus is cute and harmless. not sure what step two will be. but it will involve an inescapable cage and the cutest mouse in the world, outfitted in a blue shirt before being shown to me. that's the only way.