During a rather stormy night this past week, Choo-choo and I had a heart to heart about his fears of thunder. He sat in my lap as I rocked him and told him that he was safe. He repeated my words back to me, yet still clung to me and asked me to hold him until he was better. I completely understood, though. I, too, was always terrified of storms and of thunder in particular. Only recently have I learned to appreciate how soothing rainstorms can be, especially when falling asleep to their sounds.
I have tried to find a way to explain the loud noises in a way my son can understand, but nothing seemed to ease his anxiety. Each and every rumble still frightened him. Then my mom came over one day with a set of plastic bowling balls and pins for Choo-choo to play with.
Not only is it a fun game, I found it a very useful tool. Since Choo-choo had gained first hand experience, I told him how thunder sounds like hundreds of bowling pins being knocked down at once. After all, this is close to what I believed for years when I was around Choo-choo’s age. My parents had told me that thunder is simply God bowling in Heaven. I can’t begin to tell you how genuinely comforting those words were to me. I hoped my words would be as comforting to my own child.
Once Choo-choo wrapped his mind around the idea of people bowling in the rain, I added how happy they all must have been knocking down so many pins. “Just like you were when you played,” I told him.
He immediately smiled. “Yeah!” he looked up at me. “And I clap, and you clap. And the thunder clapped!” He even put his hands together to show me.
I knew this moment would be a good time to continue on with our bedtime routine, safe in the knowledge that my son would no longer fear thunderstorms. At least for one night.