We’re sort of a nature-y, naturalist-type family. Will and I used to spend loads of time in kayaks and tents (pre-kid), and we hope to incorporate more of that sort of thing now that the kids are getting older and easier to herd from activity to activity. Along that vein, we like to take time to smell the flowers. And study their structure. And see what’s living/dining on them. And hey! What’s living under that paving stone?
We have snakes in our yard. Quite a few. We take pains to show them to the kids. They’re mainly garter/ribbon snakes, so they’re harmless. I found one living in a hole next to our dryer vent. Stella and I crept out and watched it for a good long while. She thought it was neat.
Same thing with bugs and spiders. Stella is entering in that age where I think lots of her comrades are prone to screaming and running away from any bug. She has done that more than a few times. We’re trying to teach her not to be reflexively afraid of bugs. Most are harmless (with the notable exceptions of fire ants, stinging caterpillars, and wasps). Either way, you can observe them and leave them be. We caught this cool (and rather large) wolf spider recently. We had a nice discussion about it at dinner. She wanted to name it. I suggested “Free,” since we were about to set it free outside. I was told that “Free” wasn’t a name. We went with Liberace. It was the closest thing I could come to Liberate. She dug it. We’ll deal with the pianist later.
Roaches are hard for me. I’d rather deal with snakes and spiders than roaches. Yes, it’s totally irrational. I do recognize that this is the same behavior I’m trying to teach my kids not to express. Hypocrisy aside, I have managed to squelch my own would-be reactions to these things and react more calmly. Yes, I still kill the sons of bitches. But I try not to scream, cuss, cry, and shudder while doing so.
There are enough real things to be afraid of in this world. We don’t need to waste the energy being afraid of things that can’t hurt us.