Friday, April 3, 2009

Losing Your Head

The Bee Hero post brought up a topic I think about a lot: how not to transmit my hangups to my kids.

I consider myself to be less squeamish than average about squirmy and yucky things. I enjoyed dissecting animals in college, we kept a black widow spider as a pet for a couple years. But unlike my kids I don't run and pick up snakes, lizards and tarantulas.

Not that I find them yucky, I just don't want to be bitten.

And when we were in Maryland during the 17 year cicada hatching I started out with curiosity and interest and ended up being nauseated by them (or maybe that was just because I was in my first trimester with Greta).

But I tried not to betray this to Evelyn who was never without a beloved cicada in her hand.

I try to model calm interest in all things no matter how creepy, smelly, or yucky I privately think they are, such as the raccoon the kids skinned, the disemboweled squirrel they found a few weeks ago, or the squashed cane toad the size of a dinner plate that Clem, age two, was stroking, saying, "I pet him stinky frog!"

But sometimes a primordial revulsion takes over. When we came upon the head of a cedar waxwing while out on a walk, when Greta ran toward it hand outstretched, fingers eager to claim a treasure, I began to scream.

Yes, like the storied housewife who jumps on a chair at the sight of a mouse. "Aaaah! Aaah! Noooooo! Don't pick it up!" And when the hand closed on it I actually clutched my head in my hands and wailed.

So much for modeling calm interest.

Afterwards I had to laugh at myself. I always worry that my involuntary reactions will outweigh all my years of feigned or real calm interest, but the kids just looked at me like I was crazy.


AM said...

Whenever one of these "moments" happens, think of it as evidence of the great job you've done raising your kids.

I wondered whether the local/US bee society would be interested in your previous post.

Stefaneener said...

I so wish I'd seen you clutching your head. Really. Just so I could support you. Really.

I have those "ick!" moments, but generally they're burned out of my circuits by kids.

JeaneP said...

The cedar wax wing photo turned out great. Nancy was very impressedwith the camera. She has one too and gave me a good source for the telephoto lens. Wat kind of lens do you have?

J.G. Wilder said...

See! You've already succeeded beyond your wildest dreams. :) "I pet him stinky frog" is one of the greatest hits of childhood, in my book.

Susan said...

Hey I forgot to credit my mom for the great photo of the cedar waxwing head. She did not lose her head and calmly took Greta in to wash her hands.