Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Along Came A Spider

I am afraid of spiders. Actually, that's quite an understatement. Spiders terrify me, take my breath away, make my flesh crawl. I don't care how many times they remake Charlotte's Web, I'm not changing my mind. I am deathly afraid of spiders.

When I was just a small thing, a big, black tarantula chased me across the backyard. There I was, blissfully playing in the summer twilight, when all of a sudden . . . well, my screams brought my grandfather running outside toting a shotgun, and he shot the nasty thing (Papa was a helluva shot in his day)! Thus began my lifelong hatred of all things creepy crawly.

My four-year-old daughter is completely different. She fearlessly handles snakes and lizards. She catches frogs and worms. I have to keep an assortment of bug jars on the back porch for her to fill with ladybugs, crickets, and whatever else she can find. Her curiosity is unfettered by fear of any kind.

So, perhaps, you can imagine my surprise when I found myself running like a madwoman to respond to my daughter's shrieks of terror:

"Spider! Spider, Mama!"

"You're not afraid of spiders!" I chided, but my heart was sinking. Obviously, my daughter had picked up on my fear of spiders, and made it her own. And, I wonder . . .

What other phobias and hang-ups have I unknowingly passed on? How often have I let my own fears teach my daughter to be afraid? That is something that really scares me. Even more than spiders!

For October's Write-Away Contest at Scribbit!

22 comments:

loving my life said...

I know how you feel.... I constantly worry about what legacies if you will, that I have passed to my son. I take his head in my hands and frequently pray against bondage that I'm worried my family has passed to him... It's great therapy you should try it.
Thanks for visiting my blog, love to see you back!!!

Mama Zen said...

We moms all have the same fears, don't we?

Sheila said...

I'm with you on the spiders! My daughter is also the one to go digging in the dirt and to capture grasshoppers. In my defense, we do have to be careful about spiders. The Widows are prevalent in our area (brown more so than black). All spiders are guilty until proven innocent in my house.

As my children get older, I notice different fears and dislikes that they have picked up from me or their father. It is inevitable! :)

MomOf3 said...

It is scary! It all goes back to the nature versus nurture and we as moms are "nurture"!

P.S. I so empathize with your spider fear. I cannot stand them either.

pinks & blues girls said...

It's funny, sometimes I'll react a certain way to something or think a certain thing, and I'll totally say to myself, "Oh my gosh, that soooo came from mom." :)

Jane, Pinks & Blues

Karen said...

Listen, it's not you. Kids pass in and out of fears like the sizes of shoes they wear. We can't raise fearless kids. But they can learn to be brave. And so can we!

Shrieking at spiders must be deeply and timelessly human or we wouldn't have the folklore we do, Miss Muffet.

Kathleen Marie said...

I know kids do pick up on our fears and easily. But, I haven't met many people who like spiders. I mean, there is only one Charlotte.

Corey~living and loving said...

great post. It is true we pass these things on if we are not careful.
and I was thinking how older siblings so much shape the younger ones in so many ways. I see my niece automatically being afraid of the things her sister is.
So many things are learned behavior...then...some are not...and those are the ones that amaze me. it is interesting to me when my daughter decides she doesn't like the looks of something, and acts afraid. I wonder....is it nature or nurture? I wrote a post about it in May I think. :)

Oh, The Joys said...

I'm afraid of them too.

boogiemum (www.boogiemum.com) said...

I hate spiders, too. Ty flips our over them, while Toby picks them up, which scares me b/c there are so many poisonous ones here.

Summer said...

A most excellent insight. I try to be careful not to pass my fears or preferences on to the kids. I slyly pick out the food I don't like and don't ever say I don't like something in front of them or they're sure not to like it too.

Scribbit said...

I'm picturing someone blasting at a tarantula with a shotgun and can't help but think that the only thing worse than a tarantula crawling toward you would be pieces of tarantula covering you :)

Love the post!

Christine said...

I, too, am so very afraid of spiders... even just typing that sent chills up my spine!! My kids, on the other hand, FEARLESS!!

Thanks for entering my Big Birthday Giveaway... Good luck!

bella said...

My little guy has a LOT of fears, easily stimulated and overwhelmed.
So its been a learning process for both of us, to learn it is okay to be afraid AND he is safe.

Be Inspired Always said...

I'm afraid of them too! And Bees.




Jillian

Phyllis Sommer said...

this is a great post. i, too, worry about passing on my fears to my children. but sometimes, just sometimes, i also indicate things i don't like (such as cauliflower) to demonstrate that it's okay to have likes and dislikes...but even though i hate bugs, when i'm the only parent around, i find myself being the one to remove them from the house anyway! it's like an inner single-parental strength that allows me to deal with bugs. someone else is around? no strength. ewww.

The Daily Rhythm said...

I can so relate....I have a fear of caterpillars (yes, don't laugh) and we went camping this summer to a place crawling with thousands of army worms! My worst nightmare, and I tried my best to suck it up and not scream as the girls brought them to me to see. Ugh, I still can't believe I survived that.
BUT my biggest fear is that my girls will either inherit my other flaws, or that I will push them so far to the other side in trying to prevent it...I haven't decided which one is worse just yet :) Hopefully I can learn to just sit back and let them discover who they are...with all their own likes and dislikes

Shawn said...

Spiders scare me so much I can't read this post ... so just know that I relate. Completely. : )

jeanie said...

I used to be a worrier about the fears I would pass on - and then my darling little girl decided to mould her own fears. Heck, she collects phobias for fun!

Currently we have fire, birds, closed doors and moths. She would like to expand the list, but I have become a hardened guerilla in stopping these fears in their tracks and making them scared of me!

Candace said...

they pick up on all our stuff don't they? I challenge myself to stay brave sometimes for their sake but when it's just me and husband I can really indulge some serious fears and worries!

Candace said...

they pick up on all our stuff don't they? I challenge myself to stay brave sometimes for their sake but when it's just me and husband I can really indulge some serious fears and worries!

Mama Zen said...

I've always tried not to say I didn't like a particular food, and I've done my best to conceal my fears when Baby Puppy does something a little bit daring, but spiders? I got busted with that one!

The story about my Papa shooting the tarantula with the shotgun is LEGENDARY in my family. I wish that I could really remember, but I was too young. Mostly, I "remember" from hearing the story a hundred times!

Oh, there is a bit more . . . for the rest of that summer, I am told that I refused to go near watermelon because I insisted that the seeds were "boogs and spideys!"