Day 413: A Toddler’s Fear of Life-Sized Animated Characters

A few weeks ago at Hong Kong Disneyland, we decided to introduce the little guy and his friend to Minnie Mouse.  You know, when they have people dressed in the characters and you can take pictures with them?  So, there we were, waiting in line, and the little guy was having a lot of fun looking around and even pointed out Minnie to me.

A few minutes later, it was a different story.  He was in my arms, and we were standing next to Minnie for a photo, and she reached out to the little guy.  He freaked out.  Crying, screaming, and trying to basically run away.  I thought maybe it was a one-time situation, where he was just freaked out because there was too much going on, etc.  Maybe it was because Minnie was moving but not talking, and he has a stuffed Mickey who does not move?  Who knows?

Today we made a trip to the Toys R Us in Central Hong Kong.  It’s a relatively small place but there is a little lobby area nonetheless outside the shop.  And boy was I excited when they had a character (is his name Geoffrey the Giraffe?) at the entrance.  I was so excited because the little guy is pumped about giraffes in general.  So, when it was time to leave, I pointed out the giraffe to him, and the giraffe walked over and held out his hand.  FREAK OUT!  OOOAAAAHHHH!!!  Although he was strapped into the stroller, he was trying to run away, climb away, do anything to get away – it was sheer terror.  Even when we got him calmed down by me taking the giraffe’s hand to show it was safe, he wanted nothing to do with it except for to wave “goodbye” and get out of there.

So, there we have the only real, concrete thing that I can say I know the little guy is afraid of: life-sized animated characters.  He had the same reaction as above when he met Santa this winter, so I guess it’s anything “not normal” by whatever standards he has for normal.  If that’s the case, it seems like a pretty rational fear I guess, but hopefully it is something he will outgrow one day. 😉


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