Since my daughter was very young, she has had a hard time falling asleep because she is afraid of "The Swirls." I'm not sure what this is or how to handle it, so I'll try to describe it as best I can.
When she was around two and became verbal, she began saying that she didn't want to close her eyes at night to go to sleep because she was scared of "The Drains." I didn't understand what she was talking about. She has never had any fear of the bathtub drain. When she turned three, she could describe it a little more. "They go around and around and I don't like them. I'm scared of the drains, mama!" Now that she is four, she calls them "The Swirls."
For the longest time, I have been ignoring it (this may have been a bad idea, but I really have not been able to figure out how to deal with this). She would complain about it every few weeks or so and I would just say "it's normal, honey. Those are just colors you see when you close your eyes." I even tried ignoring her thinking she just wanted attention.
She is four now and is still scared of whatever they are. She says she sees them whenever she closes her eyes and they frighten her. I'm paying attention now. She does not fight bedtime, she is happy to go to bed every night, and when she talks about them, she seems genuinely serious about them. Some nights, she asks if she can stay awake all night if she promises to stay in bed. Sometimes she will ask me if I will let her sleep with her eyes open so she doesn't have to see them. Often, she will cry because she is scared of them.
We cosleep. I have never left my daughter. She fears absolutely nothing, not monsters or people or dogs or even the dark. She loves the night. She has never seen anything scary. We don't have TV in our house. There is nothing physically wrong with her. I just took her to the doctor. This is the only fear she has ever had.
I think I'm going to have a long talk with her about them tonight, but I'm not sure if, at four, she is able to describe it to me. I'm worried about playing up her fears of this thing I don't understand and making it worse. Monsters I can deal with. Things I can see and understand, I can deal with. How do I deal with something I can't even understand?
What would you do?