My daughter is afraid of mascots. It all started during her first trip to Gilroy Gardens for their Holiday Lights Show. Right when we walked through the entrance. we ran into Snoopy dressed as Santa. A double whammy. He tried to hug her. Josie's been terrified ever since.
So you can imagine my shock when a commercial for Toy Story on Ice appeared on the TV, and Josie begged me to take her. At first, I resisted. But then I thought it might be a good gateway into other events and experiences. It might help her overcome her fear of dressed up characters.
When we got to the entrance of the HP Pavilion, Josie started to regret her decision. "Um, I think we can go another time," she said.
"Keep walking," I said, tugging her gently by the hand. By the time we got to the concession stand, she was shaking.
"Is she cold?" My husband, Norm, asked.
"She's terrified," I responded calmly. I had seen Josie like this on several occasions - on the first day of gymnastics - on the first day of preschool - on the first day of any new thing she has ever tried. "She'll be fine in a minute," I said.
Sure enough, a minute later, she was shaking in her seat. Only now it was to the rhythm of "We got the beat" - the theme song for Barbie's big dance solo. A minute later, she was dancing in the aisles with other toddler sized Toy Story fanatics.
During intermission, Josie asked, "Mom, can we go to other shows like this?"
I quickly did a simple internet search on my cell phone and discovered several kid focused theater performances in the Bay Area. This March, the Peninsula Youth Theater is performing Cinderella at the Mountain View Center for Performing Arts and Pinkalicious The Musical is coming to the East Bay.
Suddenly, the lights dimmed and the Toy Story characters started skating by. "Barbie just waved to me!" Josie said with the biggest smile I had ever seen on her pretty, little face. She was thrilled. And it was thrilling for me to see the performance through her eyes. Hopefully, this is the end of Josie's fears of dressed up characters and the beginning of a whole new list of fun things for us to do together.