I surprised myself and did something the other day that I have never done before. It's not earthshattering by any means - I just picked up an earthworm and held it in my hand. That may not seem like a big deal, but prior to having a child I had absolutely no interest in touching one much less actually picking it up. I avoided touching them or any other type of bug, worm or spider. However, now that I am the parent of a little girl I'm determined to raise her not to be a scaredy-cat who only does "girl" things. So, if I have to grit my teeth and pick up a worm to try and ensure that my girl isn't afraid of bugs or worms, well then I'll do it.
So far, at age 3, I think she is doing pretty good! A few times she has come home from school and told us that she doesn't like thunder or doesn't like lightning and we know it's because someone at her school is telling her THEY don't like it. I know this because she and her dad have sat out back and watched lightning together and she has never been afraid. It's amazing how easily kids can be influenced, but the good thing is that we can influence her right back to "our" side! We tell her how mommy and daddy like thunder and lightning and it usually means rain is coming and the flowers and grass like the rain especially when they are thirsty. She seems to grasp that explanation and hasn't really complained about storms since.
This past weekend she and I were working in the garden and came across an earthworm. I pointed it out and before I knew it I had reached out and picked it up so she could get a better look. I was proud of myself - I still had a split second hesitation -but it was subtle enough that she was none the wiser.
She didn't want to hold the worm herself but she did tentatively touch it with one finger. Two days later I was working in the yard again and she walked over to me with her hand outstretched to show me a worm she had picked up all by herself! It wasn't an earthworm but one of those small, black worms that have a shiny look to them and curl up when they are trying to protect myself. To me those worms are a little more intimidating looking than a fat, pink earthworm, but she didn't seem to notice and she was fascinated that the worm was all curled up.
As a parent it was so cool to experience this with her because obviously she remembered that I had showed her the earthworm and although she wasn’t ready to actually hold that one, she found this little black one, picked it up and proudly showed him to me. We were able to have a little talk about why he was all curled up and that he may have been just protecting himself because he was scared or he was, well, dead. Almost on cue he uncurled himself and started wiggling around. It was a great parental moment for me and probably one that only other parents will "get".
Our camera is broken so I don't have any good pictures to post of this little mother/daughter event, but here are some pictures of the 17-year cicadas that emerged last summer. There was a lot of hoopla about that around here, and I wanted to capture the kids with the bugs. That was another time I had to hold back my squeamishness to actually pick up a cicada (it still makes me shudder thinking about it) and show my daughter that there was nothing to be afraid of (ewwwwww!!!!).
I even put one right on my (then) 4 month old baby boy so I could get a picture and show it to him when they come back and he is 17 years. Yup, that's the cicada over there on his ear - just inches from his mouth, his eyes, his little baby nose. What was I thinking?? I just hope he gets a kick out of it in 16 years.