Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Great Outdoors

I know we've been over this before, my relationship with creepy crawlies, but when a thing takes up as much brainpower as my bug-aversion does, it gets blogged about. Take cover, because here comes the screaming and cringing. Only half of it done by me this time.

So we're playing outside, right?

It's just Mia and I, Lauren is inside napping. I'm trying to weed the garden and thin out the carrot shoots while Mia slides and swings. Only I can't get much accomplished what with all the bug induced yelling going on. Every few minutes, Mia screams in her whiniest of whines:

"MAMA!! It's a BUG! Come over here, mama, it's a BUG!"

I patiently explain that, yes, since we are outside where millions of bugs live, there are probably gonna be bugs. I tell her not to worry, just blow it off the slide and keep playing. But after about the fourth time, I come see what all the fuss is about.

There's a tiny gnat resting on the slide, which I show her how to blow a puff of air at, so she is safe again. I continue with my gardening.

"A BEETLE mama, a beetle! Get it off my slide! MAMA!" I tell her to get a stick and flick the beetle away, which she does, but..."THE BEETLE is stuck to the stick!!! Maamaaa!"

Good grief, I'm thinking. I almost never allow my feelings about bugs to be known in Mia's presence, so I'm pretty sure it's just a family trait that we share. I'm very careful to hide my freaking-out from her impressionable eyes.

I go to check out the beetle, only to find a small tick on the stick. We toss the stick into the woods, and I try to explain - again - why it's not that big of a deal to find a few bugs outside. It's even kind of neat. We talk about insects and how they're different from animals, and why insects are neat (*shudder*) so she doesn't need to scream every time she encounters one. I feel good about my momentary foray into homeschooling...we just had a small science class...easy peasy. Again, I continue with my gardening.

Now Mia is looking for bugs. She is excited when she finds an ant, a ladybug, a fly. She is armed with a stick and puffed up cheeks, poking them and blowing on them for fun now. She is squealing with delight instead of worry, although this distinction is so vague that I have trouble differentiating the two. Her squeals (screams?) intensify when there's a bug stuck in a hole, and she can't get it out. I respond with mmhmm's and wow's and okay honey's, not really paying attention anymore because I'm so focused on my carrot thinning.

Then the whining starts back up. Something about this bug in a hole is really bugging her. (Heh.) I tell her to calm down and remember what we talked about; it's not a big deal, it's just an insect living in it's natural habitat. I wander over to the hole she's dancing around and pointing to which is an empty screw hole in the swingset.

Immediately I see long spindly legs folding out of the hole, ringing it's entire perimeter. And Mia is poking at this. A spider. A big, leggy, bundled up spider. The worst of the worst.

Alright already, so it's only a daddy long legs and I know you're not supposed to be afraid of these, the most innocent of all spiders, but my phobia knows no difference between the various spider species.

I pull Mia back from her close proximity and try to remain calm. But her head is facing the spider, so I feel completely justified in hopping on one foot while splaying both hands wide in the air for a full body shiver. With my tongue sticking out. And my eyes shut tight. And then, calm facade in place:

"OH! It's a daddy long legs! He must just be taking a little nap in that hole so we should probably leave him alone. Come back here, sweetie, and don't bother him any more. No, put the stick down, and just come waaaaay over here so he knows you're not going to poke him anymore. That's better."

She wants me to push her on the swing for awhile, and I keep my eyes on those gangly legs while Mia chatters about the spider. She wonders where the baby long legs are. And where's the mommy long legs? We tell sweet little stories about the entire Long Legs family.

It's taking every discipline I have to not toss Mia over my shoulder and haul her into the house, away from the great outdoors and all its creepy crawly inhabitants.

But I stay put. Pretending I don't have a care in the world.

This mom-strength just keeps surprising me.

1 comment:

  1. Hooray for you and your bravery!! I feel the same way, daddy legs or tarantula, they are all creepy!! uullghh I like the story but now I feel like there are bugs crawling across my toes......


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