At a carnival, my 2-year-old daughter went on a kiddie ride that consisted of cars going around and around on a track. She had been enthusiastic about requesting to go on the ride, but once she was on it, it was clearly too bumpy and too fast for her and she started to get upset, crying and saying she wanted to get off.
She kept whizzing by where I was standing outside the ride and I would yell, “It’s going to stop soon!” but, of course, from her perspective (not to mention mine) it continued on for an eternity. Finally, she actually began to try to climb out of the car—managing to stand up somewhat even though she was supposedly strapped in—and the operator stopped the ride and let her off. We talked about how she hadn’t liked the ride, and she seemed to recover quickly, but I had the sense that she was still probably disturbed about it to some degree.
Then, later that day, we were at home at our dining room table, and at the center of it was a Lazy Susan that spins around. I realized it appeared similar to the ride she had been on. I got a bunch of stuffed animals and put them on it and encouraged her to spin it around and around while I lightheartedly pretended that the dolls were screaming, “I don’t like this! Ouch! This is too fast! This is too bumpy! Aaaaaagh!”
She would spin faster and faster and they would go flying off. She laughed and laughed—that kind of giddy laughter where you have tears in your eyes. She wanted to play that game again and again for a couple days. I really felt that it helped her offload the upsetting feelings she had had about the ride (and it even helped me, too, dispel the unpleasant memory of standing by powerlessly while she cried for me to help her).
– a mom in California