Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Eight-legged beasties

You know when autumn is nearly here when you start having close encounters of the eight-legged kind in the confines of your own home.

In the last week, I have experienced run-ins with four of the hairiest, most menacing-looking house spiders (Tegenaria domestica if you like Latin names) I've seen in a long time.  There was the one lying in wait at the top of the stairs, the one in the bathroom, the one taking up position in the hinge of the en-suite door, and the one setting his ambush in a Yankee Candle. [Shudder]  Apparently, they're males, stalking round looking for a mate. Yuk. Go and have spider sex somewhere else.

If you haven't already gathered, I hate spiders.  They make me feel panicky and nauseous.  They run too fast, they can jump, and, although we don't have any dangerous spiders in the UK, they can still give you a nip if they feel so inclined.

My husband trots out with his designed-to-be-reassuring: ''they're probably more scared of you than you are of them.'  Hmmm - with these latest specimens, I'm not so sure. Even he, designated spider-catcher of the household, visibly blanched at the sight of the latest one, fangs a-quiver at the top of the stairs.  It looked like it was giving him the finger.

However, I am very conscious of not wanting to pass on my fear to the First Boy.  I grit my teeth and evict much smaller arachnid visitors in front of him, cheerfully telling my boy that spiders are nice, they catch the nasty flies; they just have a bad rep. He looks at me carefully, unconvinced. I'm obviously not a great actor.  Either that, or fears and phobias are more innate than psychologists would have us believe.

Still, I try to promote equal opportunities for all creepy crawlies through our choice of picture books. We've read lots of books where spiders are the goodies, or spiders get upset by being ostracized by other creatures.  But the latest spider-based favourite is Spider Sandwiches by the brilliant Claire Freedman and Sue Hendra. Quite disgusting, and thus massively appealing to three year old boys.  And the spiders get their comeuppance in the end.

Which fears or phobias are you trying not to pass on to your children?

Ps. I was going to add an image of an house spider to this post, but actually, I don't want him staring at me every time I open my blog. So, I opted for a cute, sanitized version instead.

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