Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Spiders are Nice?

I wrote a few times last week about oldest child, about his willingness to make friends, and his shiny optimism. But I haven't written yet about youngest child. Youngest child is still a toddler, an expert tantrum-thrower who loves the word "no." Some days I spend the majority of the day negotiating how I'll run simple errands or even pick older child up from school without him breaking something/hurting himself (or me)/throwing an embarrassing screaming fit in public/or just generally refusing to do whatever he's supposed to be doing at the moment.

But yesterday morning I took youngest child to the park. I watched him laugh and smile and climb and yell at another little boy for taking his shoes off. And then, as is often prone to happen, he did something that horrified me. He held something in his closed fist, and then opened his palm and showed it me: "Look, Mommy, a spider."

A spider? I should mention here that I am terrified of spiders, and that my immediate reaction was to automatically assume it was a black widow that youngest child clutched in his hand, and thus, freak out. I yelled at him and told him to put the spider down. Then I grabbed his little hand to see if the spider bit him and told him not to ever pick up spiders again, since they bite.

"The spider didn't bite me," he told me. "It was a nice spider."

"No," I argued with him. "It wasn't a nice spider. Spiders aren't nice."

"Yes," he argued back. "Spiders are nice."

He could not be convinced. Even hours later, when my husband came home, he told him about the nice spider that he'd met at the park. So I did a little Googling and learned that the majority of spiders are, in fact, not harmful to humans, that only a few species of spiders bite humans.

Hmmm. Was youngest son was right? Chances are it was a nice spider. But still, it could've also been a black widow. So I wondered, is this kind of pessimism okay? Or is younger son already a glass half full person, while I am still verging on glass half empty?

How would you react in this situation?


  1. I am a crazy irresponsible young mother, so I always tell my daughter (and told my son when he was young) that indeed, spiders are nice. Your reaction, however, might have been more practical and more mature :)

  2. No, that doesn't make you crazy and irresponsible at all. I actually think it's a much saner way to react. Though, in my defense, I live in the desert where black widows really are pretty prevalent!

  3. I would've done the same thing as I am absolutely terrified of spiders myself. It's also a natural instinct to want to protect your child from something that might be harmful. I try to remain positive as much as possible - but in the case of spiders, I see nothing to be positive about! They seriously give me the creeps, there is just something so un-natural about them freaks me out. I tried my hardest to hide this fear from my daughter. But she has picked up on it and is also deathly afraid of them now. :)

  4. I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to fear spiders. But I just found it interesting how my son's world view was to assume niceness, while mine was to assume danger.

  5. Maybe that comes from a child's ability to trust right away rather than find suspicion....

  6. And sadly, it's the mother's job to be the grown-up :(