Sometime during my college years, I developed a fright of all crawly creatures from spiders to crabs to mice. This is markedly different from my childhood, when ladybugs and caterpillars crawled over my fingers and I collected hermit crabs at the seashore. Now, it is all I can do to keep the screams inside.
But, as I’m trying to nurture a true nature-lover in my daughter, I try very hard to hide the squirms.
“Ooooh, Look! A spider.” [breathe, breathe, smile, breathe, don’t really look directly at it.]
“Let’s take it outside—actually, let’s get Abbi to take it outside.”
Today, as we walked back from the playground, we stopped to literally smell the flowers, which were blooming in early April and filling the air with perfume. My oldest daughter stuck her nose into a cluster of flowers and a snail dropped out of them unto the sidewalk. As she bent down to pick it up, I resisted the, “Yuck, don’t touch it” that welled up and instead averted my eyes. It’s not going to hurt her, so I’ll just look away until she’s done with her exploration.
Then I hear a crunch, like eggshells on the sidewalk, and see her step on the snail’s shell with her shoe.
NO! It’s a living creature!
How’s she supposed to learn what it is unless I teach her?
Too conflicted to look at the dead snail on the sidewalk, I grabbed her hand and we hurry away.