Yesterday, a friend invited us to come see their goat and the goat's newborn babies. Elijah's current favorite song is "EIEIO," so I thought seeing some real animals that we sing about in Old MacDonald Had a Farm would be a neat real-world experience for him. When we got to their property, we saw a big tractor, which Elijah thought was pretty cool. There was a miniature horse (pony? I'm not a farm girl), but Elijah was not interested in seeing him up close. We then went inside the barn where the mama goat and her new babies were resting in a stall.
The other kids we were with are a little older than Elijah, and they all got to the door of the stall and then got nervous about actually going in. Since Elijah was pretty clueless about what we were doing, even though I'd tried to prepare him ("Elijah, we're going to see a goat. What does the goat say?" "Maa! Rawr!"), I figured we might as well go for it. I carried him into the stall and pointed out the mama goat and the babies, and one little one actually came over by us. I crouched down and pet the little goat and tried to get Elijah to touch it, too, but he shook his head and protested at the idea. No biggie, at least he was close and getting to see them in real life, right? Well, then the mama goat turned her head around toward us and bleated. I don't know if Elijah hadn't realized she was real or what exactly happened, but he FREAKED OUT! He scream cried and threw his arms up over his face and pressed back into me, sobbing, as I scooped him up and backed out of the stall trying to comfort him. Poor little guy was really scared of the goat!
Next thing I know, not five minutes later, he is ASLEEP in my arms. Elijah has not fallen asleep with me holding him for close to a year, even when I've tried (remember the plane flight to India, anyone?!). Usually he's in a dark, quiet room when he sleeps, and he seems to be easily woken. So I don't know HOW this happened, but he just fell asleep. I gave him a few minutes and then tried to wake him (I'm not going to lie, I was concerned about how quickly he fell asleep, in broad daylight in the middle of a noisy barn, and wanted to make sure he was okay). He pulled his arm up over his eyes and turned his head back towards my shoulder to keep sleeping! When I shifted his weight, he clung to me with his hands and legs, but he really was ASLEEP. So I just let him keep sleeping as the other kids met the goat, and the miniature horse, and the hogs and the chickens. After 20-30 minutes, I tried again to wake him, and this time he did keep his eyes open and respond to me as I talked to him, albeit quietly at first. I showed him the chickens and he was happy to see them, so at least there was a positive experience out at the farm!
So, I don't know what to conclude about this very strange experience. It really seemed like he was so uncomfortable with his environment that he just chose to fall asleep! Can you scare yourself asleep? I don't know if it's possible, but it did almost seem like a defense mechanism! Or maybe he went from so scared to feeling so safe as I held him that he relaxed so completely he fell asleep? Miraculously, even with that little nap (around 11am), he took the longest nap yesterday that he's had in several weeks-3 hours and 20 minutes!!! He also ate really well yesterday, so maybe he's growing, but I just don't know what to think!
Has anyone else ever heard of kids being so scared they fall asleep? My poor little baby!!! :)
(He has completely recovered, by the way. After his nice long nap, he was in the greatest mood yesterday afternoon/evening-what a treat!!!)