Wednesday, December 9, 2009


My son is terrified of masks. He has a friend who has a fantastic playroom full of all sorts of cool toys, including a Nerf Bazooka that shoots out balls in a rapid-fire, thrilling fashion.

I mean, holy effing shitballs.

Yet, this friend of his also enjoys his Batman, and dons a Batman mask with (in Owen's opinion) alarming regularity.

So, instead of playing and giving Mommy some peace interacting with his peers, Owen plants himself by my side mumbling, Rainman-style, "No masks, I don't like masks. No masks. No scary masks."

The friend is a good sport and takes off the mask, but Owen can still smell the eerie mask-ness of the house, and never relaxes, until oh...the last five minutes of the playdate.

And THEN, we went to a birthday party this last weekend, and guess the theme of the party? Take your time...

Yes, BATMAN. Weak-ass, mask-wearing Batman. And the craft...making a BATMAN mask.


Owen made the mask, and added all sorts of sparkly hearts and stars to his, thus making it a Liberace Batman, armed with the power of FABULOUS!

But wear the damn thing? That would be a negative.

I'm fine with all of this, because what am I going to do, pin him on the ground and force him into a costume? (Again?)

I need to accept that my kid is not a costume wearer. Most of the time, this doesn't bother's his little sensory issue, and we all have them.

But, when I was at preschool on Tuesday, Owen's teacher told everybody that they acted out the story of the Lion and the Mouse. She held up a terrifying lion mask and my friend whispered,  "Oh, Nancy, I bet Owen just hated that."

I nodded, and unable to restrain myself, asked his teacher if he wore the mask.

"Oh, no," she said. "And, he told me, in no uncertain terms, that he would not dress up as a shepherd, sing songs, or dance at the pageant. He was very polite, but said, 'No thank you, please.'"  She was very nice about the whole thing, and acknowledged that kids are different, and that the pageant is not a big deal.

However---I really, really, really want to see my kid dressed up like a shepherd singing little songs about Mary rocking Baby Jesus or Donkeys Giving the Christ Child A Ride Around the Stable, or whatever it is they will be singing.

Yet, that would be forcing my kid to wear a mask.

Yes, I believe that kids need to summon the energy and do things that they may not necessarily choose to do--homework, practicing, naps, church. I also believe that when a kid tells you he is afraid, you need to honor his words, and provide him with a basic sense of safety.

So tell me, Those Who Have Lived This:

Do I...

1) Relax and let the chips fall as they may?
2) Bribe him?
3) Chill the hell out?
4) All of the above?


blueviolet said...

In my estimation, that's not a battle worth fighting. I wouldn't even worry about it. :)

Coby Goesling said...

I KNEW Owen and the boys had to be related. My kids are the same way; with D & J, they sometimes seem to have an aversion to all things FUN if they are not in control of it.

Ditto to what blueviolet said - don't sweat it.

Alice said...

Relax, relax, relax and don't force him into doing something that he really, really doesn't want to do. I have a few painful memories of forcing someone to wear a Halloween costume when he didn't want to or dressing up for a Christmas pageant that he really, really didn't want to be in. It's a lose,lose and those aren't the memories we want our kids to grow up with. Sorry D and K!

adrienzgirl said...

Oh dear Nancy, don't force anything. It might be traumatizing. Just let it work itself out.

SamiJoe said...

eh, if he misses it one year, he won't remember.
you might, but that means you can enforce it twice as hard next year???
lmao, only kidding!

Nikia, May and da kids said...

I wouldn't trip to hard over whether he wants to participate, but then again I am the same mother who forces my kids to do alot of things they don't want to.

My oldest kid is too sweet and nice to everyone and now I'm thinking, dang it, I just made him OVER POLITE! Sure the ladies, moms, woman of all ages love it, but I keep wishing he was a bit edgier like myself.

You will be fine whatever you decide because you are his mom and knows him best. Sounds strange but every mama has those instincts. Just learn to listen to them.


Traci said...

First I would like to say that I would pay BIG money to see the Liberace Batman mask. (Well, I would if I had big money which I don't but you get the idea).

Secondly,relax. My son didn't sing at any of his three preschool pageants. He just stood there like a deer it the headlights but at his last event, he was a shepherd. A silet shepherd. He then decided that he would turn his back to the audience, bend over and shake his bootie. So maybe, just maybe you are better off. Just saying. :-)

michelle said...

"No thank-you, please". That's very very cute.

No masks

Aunt Becky said...

I hate masks too! Seriously. I was like that as a kid!

Frau said...

I think if he has such strong fears then don't enforce them. Please my older sister has always been afraid of zippers don't ask me why. She wears nothing with zippers! Everybody has something and it's not worth forcing the issue.

Corrie Howe said...

We all have our idiosyncrasies. I think it's funny that Owen made it clear to teacher that he would not be participating.

Christine said...

I may have missed something, but I don't remember a lot of masks in Christmas Pageants I Have Seen. Has he seen A Charlie Brown Christmas? Linus gets to wear his security blanket as his costume. Does Owen have a nice blankie he can wear?? FWIW, My son had a lot of sensory issues at that age, and OT really helped. He's 13 now and can tolerate a lot more (and is proactive and removes himself politely when he can't).

Cat said...

I would relax. Maybe ask the teacher if they can come up with a non-mask part? I don't see why shepherds need masks myself...

Nancy Campbell said...

To clarify, hats count as masks in Owen world. So that's the prob with the shepherd costume. I'm totally not going to push the issue.

Caution Flag said...

Attempt all of the above. Your son is who he is, and someday his maskless pageant will be a darling memory.

My Life in Purple said...

For the record, I am TERRIFIED of people in costume. Easter Bunny, Santa..Clowns. I don't trust people in costume in the least. What are they hiding?! John Wayne Gacy dressed as a birthday clown, and he killed 33 people!!

Owen and I can avoid those costumed people together ;P

Steph said...

I would let it go. (((HUGS))) By the way, I LOVE the way you write -- it makes me laugh out loud. If we didn't have a sense of humor about the things we face in our parenting lives, we'd have been sunk a long time ago!

Melani said...

yes everyone has already said it and I totally agree, just let it pass. Let him know you totally support his decision and at least he was polite when he told the teacher no thank you.

Anonymous said...

Josh loves dress up, costumes, & song and dance. YET, do you think he would don his Indian costume at the Thanksgiving play at preschool?! That would be a NO! Kids!

Unknown Mami said...

Don't make him wear the mask.

Trudy Woodland said...

Letting it slide seems to be the path you're going to take. I would too.
Something that has worked for me... when you talk about Owen and his "mask issue" especially when he can hear you. I would say, "Owen likes masks, he thinks they are fun, but he just doesn't feel like wearing one today.

Eventually he'll believe that he likes masks...maybe, but worth a shot.

kys said...

My youngest was/is the same way. Once he actually put on a Darth Vader voice changing mask (his brother's) and said "Oh, I scared myself!".

I would relax and not push it. My kiddo has gotten a little better with age.

mama-face said...

This is definitely an area in which I really believe you just need to relax. There is a saying, "Choose your battles". This one, while I understand how you would love to see him participate in costume, isn't worth a battle. He just needs your loving. And I know he gets that. :)