I looked online at the circus website, and showed the children, expecting them to be happy and excited, Jake and Mikey were full of enthusiasm, Chloe however less so, she studied the photos on the website and then declared she wasn't kean.
Now you see about 2 years ago we took a trip to a fair, there were rides and entertainment, Jake and Chloe eager to go on them all, we watched as they enjoyed themselves on some of the smaller rides, then they decided they wanted to go on a bigger more thrill seeking ride.
It certainly wasn't a terribly scary ride, but still it was enough to put Chloe off for good, and since then she has been more anxious about rides and things that move in general. To the point of avoiding lifts in shopping centres and I have noticed her anxiety levels creeping up and her confidence to try new things is at an all time low.
I have so far been ignoring her 'I'm too scared' moans and not forcing her to do things if she would rather walk the long way round and find a stair case, or miss out on fun new experience, but when she decided she'd rather not go to the Circus, which normally would have been right up her street; dancing showgirls, horses, gymnastic acts everything that grabs her attention I wasn't willing to let it slip.
So I declared we would all be attending like it or not, knowing there are no rides at a Circus, and nothing to be unduly scared of, we set off in the car, Chloe started to cry, we walked upto the Big Top and she was inconsolable, shaking and getting herself really worked up. I continued inside, we sat near the doorway, Chloe was in a right state, she started to say she felt sick, the colour faded from her cheeks and she exclaimed as loudly as possible that she didn't want to stay. I sat there with the boys eager to watch the show, with other families all around wondering why I had brought a terrified child to the Circus!
Not sure what to do for the best, I decided to stick it out, and reassure Chloe there was nothing to be scared of, and hope for the best, she sat crying, complaining she was going to be sick, and getting really agitated, then the lights dimmed and the music blared out, she squealed, truly terrified, but I didn't want to walk out, her confidence has dropped so much the past year or so, her fears becoming somewhat over powering and she is getting more and more anxious about everyday things, which I know she used to love, so I thought this was an opportunity to help her realise that she can deal with her anxiety and have a good time, even doing something she is unsure about to start with.
So for the first 10 minutes she sat crying burying her head in my jacket with her hands over her ears (thankfully the music was loud enough to over power her wails and the show was eye catching enough that everyone had turned away from the terrified child at my side, with exaggerated ohhh wooooow's and look at that beautiful pony! from myself and the boys she slowly peeped out through the coat and started to watch.
By the time the first half was drawing to a close for the interval she was thoroughly enjoying the show, cheering, laughing whooping and shouting with the best of them!
So we got though the Circus visit and had a truly lovely time, Chloe was proud of her self that she had overcome the fear of the unknown and managed to do something she truly was scared of and actually ended up thoroughly enjoying.
I was pleased I hadn't walked out before it stated and reinforced the notion that things are scary and no fun, and instead stuck out the tuts and stares from other Circus lovers for being a awful mother making her child do something she so vocally was against.
And Chloe is happily chatting about the next time she visits a Circus or fair and how she is going to try new things again!