Thursday, January 15, 2009

For the last time Sharks do NOT LIVE in your bathtub!

For the past 6 months we have been going through this with Emma. She does not want to take a bath or be in the bathroom alone as she feels that at any time sharks can get into the tub with her. we have:

1. We sat down and showed her pictures of HOW BIG sharks are and how small her tub is. She tells us that when they are babies they are only 7 inches long. I suddenly hate her Ranger Rick Magazines.
2. We have assured her that even though her tubs faucet is larger than a pin head it is still SOO small a baby shark could not come out of it. We have also explained that there is a filter the water must go through before it comes out of the faucet. She argues the filter will break.
3. We have driven her to the city water tower to show her where the water is held.
4. We keep her away from the TV during Shark Week on the Discovery Channel.
5. Finally we tell her that sharks live in salt water only and she said that her teacher told her they could stay alive for a while in fresh water.
6. We concluded that we are 174.53 miles from the closest beach. Distance means nothing to a 7 year old.

She STILL does not believe us. Her imagination is stronger than our reasoning and she still has this thing about sharks. The next house that we buy I will not have two stories if I can help it. She has to have someone in a close room when she bathes as she wants to be able to get help if she needs it. While this will all be very funny when she is 17 it is not funny at 7 it is tiresome.

I have thought and thought this. Today for some reason I had a new memory about first grade. Some of you have loved my school memories but this is a new one! It was the end of the year and I was getting ready to take my end of the year swimming test in our school's Olympic sized pool. I suddenly felt like I could not breathe because I knew for sure that as soon as I jumped into the deep end for my end a huge great white shark would be waiting for me.

So you see Tracie- just as you suspected.....the apple does not fall too far from the tree. Maybe I should start checking my bathtub too :) Happy Thursday Blogging Budies!


Danielle Brigida said...

Adorable! I came across your post because you mentioned Ranger Rick magazines. I would love to help you in any way I can :)

Scott S. Semester said...

Hi! I had this anxiety, too, when I was younger. Not sure how I got over it, though.

What if the solution is not to logically prove that sharks can't get in the tub, but rather to embrace her awesome knowledge, channel her inner Ranger Rick, and take her to a zoo with a shark-petting pool? The zoo in my town (Indianapolis) has a great exhibit where you can pet the sharks as they swim by. And it's not scary at all. (If she was scared by the prospect, she could stand to the side and watch your family and other kids as they pet the sharks without incident before trying it herself...)

Like, if she meets sharks face-to-face, hand-to-fin, maybe it wouldn't even matter if they got into the tub somehow... Maybe?

I'm neither a parent nor a wildlife educator nor a child psychologist, so I offer this merely as a brainstorm!

Jeff - said...

Hi there-

Danielle mentioned your predicament, and shark-debunking is a personal passion of mine.

Here are three good things to tell her (at least, they worked for someone afraid of sharks in the pool):

1) There's only ONE type of shark (bull shark) that's been able to survive any substantial time in freshwater, and it's much too big to fit into a bath tub - also, bull sharks are viviparous, meaning they give birth to well-developed live pups, so they'd be too big to get into her tub, even as babies.

2) I like to let kids know that sharks don't like to eat people, and the reasons most shark "attacks" happen is because of cloudy water or people who are wearing wetsuits that get mistaken for sea lions. I assume her bathtub isn't murky, muddy water, and that she doesn't take her baths in wetsuits.

Also, don't know that this will help in this case (more for swimming in the ocean), but when a shark bites a person, it's usually just what's called a "test-bite" - ask her, if you didn't have hands, how would you find out what something felt like? This is why sharks often gnaw on the corners of boats that are new to their area.

3) Remind her that sharks aren't crazy killing machines, and just eat when they're hungry, like any other fish - they happen to be a bit bigger. They're not looking to hunt down anybody, much less little kids, since they have more than enough food in the ocean. When a shark gets hungry, it's going to eat what's close-by, not go out of its way to get into a bathtub ;)

Hope these things help - feel free to track me down through my site if you have any more questions.

Also, you can tell her that this info comes straight from an "ocean expert" - I'll be happy to send an email from my organization if it'll lend some credibility; she sounds like a smart and skeptical kid.

Good luck! - Jeff

Girly Muse said...

hahaha, oh, poor thing. poor emma and poor mama. :)

keep us posted on the outcome of this one!

Tracie Smith said...

Ok, most of your contributors were much to 'into' it for me. lol Maybe she is smart enough to know she is getting lots of attention. She seems pretty sanguine to me! lol

Ok...give us a Seanna tale or two so we will get to know both she and John! ha

Love you girl...have a great weekend