I know a lot of people who, when describing their children, use phrases like, "Man, that child is fearless!!"
We have never uttered those words in our house.
My boy is most decidedly NOT fearless. In fact even after I spent hundreds of dollars signing him up for a gym class, for the majority of the class he did his own thing and often told the teacher, "No tank you, I watch" when prompted to join in the class. We spent much time in occupational therapy classes trying to build his muscle tone and got frustrated as the child refused to do anything that did not involve both of his feet being firmly planted on the floor.
He does not like the dark, he does not like loud noises or surprises and for the most part he doesn't even enjoy spontaneity. He was always the kid who sat quietly in the sand when we went to a play ground, ignoring all the brightly colored play structures. And whenever we were invited to a birthday party, the parents inevitably told me, "There will be a bouncy house there, he will love it!" I just smiled and told them that for the most part, they weren't his thing. And in my head thought, "There is no way in hell that my child will ever set foot in one of those things."
A couple of weekends ago we took The Boy (and The Girl) to a Pumpkin Patch. One of their cousins is a little boy who LOVES Halloween because he loves Haunted Houses. So when we all went to a Pumpkin Patch with a Haunted House his cousin asked, "Will [The Boy] go in the Haunted House with me?" I smiled and told him that he could ask him himself but in my head I thought, "No way in hell." Sure enough The Boy refused his request and I ended up walking through the house with my nephew. As I came out I said, "Yeah, there is no way he would go in there." It wasn't overly scary, but there were lots of skeletons and lots of black lights and I just didn't assume he would be into it.
Much to my surprise, about a half an hour later he asked to go into the Haunted House. He made me hold him when going through but he did it! I was SO proud of him. And then he wanted to go through AGAIN. He did it several times and each time letting me get a little further away from him. The last time he went through he went through alone with his 4 year old cousin. I could not believe it. I was so proud of my little dare devil. Then just this past weekend we went to a little Halloween Carnival. There was another Haunted House so of course he wanted to check it out. This one was much scarier but he ended up loving it. His previous cohort in his 4 year old cousin was even too scared for this one once they started shooting off cap guns, but my boy held strong. Even the 6 year old cousin didn't want to go through, he was the only one out of all of his cousins that did it. And he did it twice!
And then? He officially blew my mind. He asked to go into a bouncy house with his cousins. He crawled inside and held on for dear life to the netting on the side. Then he crawled back out. And back in. And back out. Finally he did a few little jumps while holding onto the side before crawling out the last time. But he did it. I cannot believe it. It might be that he is just getting older and more brave, or it might be that he is feeling peer pressure to be like his cousins now that he's older and can understand these things. But whatever it is, I am SO proud of my little dude. I couldn't get photographic evidence of the Haunted Houses because, well they are dark and stuff, but here is proof of the bouncy house. Complete in his Spiderman costume. He told me afterward, "Mommy I am a very brave boy." Yes you are my little dude.