Along Came a Spider

"Mommy, there's a SPIDER!!!"

Last night my seven year-old son, O, was in the bathroom screaming that there was a spider on the wall. I went in and indeed, crawling on the wall next to the toilet was a baby spider about the size of a flea.

"Kill it! Kill it!" he cried pitifully. And so, like any good and decent mother, I smashed it with my finger and rinsed it down the drain.

Today, less than 24 hours later, the exact same boy was happily holding a tarantula at the 22nd Annual Bug Fair.

Yes, folks, our annual visit to the bug fair is the only day of the year my two sons ask me things like, "Can I touch that scorpion?" and, "Don't you think a tarantula would make a great pet?"

I think it's the effect of listening to scientists wax rhapsodic about catching those tarantulas. We got to hear gems like, "When I was hiking off the 5 around Castaic I saw her on the ground. So I just scooped her up and stuck her in my backpack."

For you non SoCal residents, that's Interstate 5 and Castaic is only 40 miles north of Hollywood. Yeah, I'm sooo thrilled to know that there are friendly female tarantulas roaming around near my hood.

If tarantulas aren't your cup of tea, the bug fair also features fun centipedes and scorpions. One guy happily shared how he's been stung by scorpions between 150-200 times in his life. "It's not so bad now. I'm used to it, except I have to be careful now because these days, the part of my skin where I get stung dies."

Oh, okaay. His skin dies. That why he's holding three of those suckers, right?

My hands down favorite had to be the lady holding the gigantic cockroach. She had the nerve to say, "Isn't he a cutie?"

Uh, no ma'am. It's a cockroach. There is nothing cute about a four-inch long cockroach. It needs to meet up with a big can of extra-extra strength Raid and the underside of Shaquille O'Neal's shoe.

And of course, I wouldn't be myself if I didn't take note of the lack of racial and gender diversity among the scientists and other bug aficionados there to display their pets. Seriously, these guys looked exactly like you'd expect them to, like they just broke out of the 2008 version of Revenge of the Nerds. I'm sure they have Star Wars action figures at home, just like my own little scientists in training do.

Yeah, I'd be perfectly happy if my kids turn into Dr. O and Dr. T, bug scientists extraordinaire. I guess that's why I broke down and bought my boys their very own bug pets. Ladies and gentleman, meet Jack and Bob, our newly acquired silk worms!

Over the next two months, my kids are going to get to see Jack and Bob eat a bunch of mulberry tree leaves, spin a cocoon and hatch into moths. That's all fine with me. I'm cool with the kind of pet where if it gets loose I'm not going to have to stay at Motel 6 till it's caught again. Plus, the worms were two for a dollar. That's the perfect price!

And as I type, guess who just crept out of his room, whining, "Mommy, there's a spider..."


Jameil said…
lmao @ holding tarantulas and scared of the spiders! hilarity!! their very own bug pets?? dedicated mom right there.
Anonymous said…
Liz, did you tell your kids most bugs are much hardier than humans and will probably still be thriving in their billions long after we're all finished off by global warming or a new world plague? Cockroaches especially. Which give me the screaming heebie-jeebies. Unlike spiders which don't bother me at all, even the huge ones.
Jen said…
That contrast was perfect. Ah... the wonder of little boys. And yeah, Nick is right. Cockroaches are. my. enemy. Period.
Anonymous said…
Hurray for the adventure of a bug visit! I have a real thing about spiders - I just don't like them. I simply don't. I try to live and let live but...
1969 said…
Ahhh.....having sons. You and I share so much. Bugs, potty humor, action figures. You caved andgot them silkworms huh? I still haven't broken down and bought the hamster.LOL
Ian Lidster said…
Cuccarachas creep me out, too. I Hawaii they're considered the 'state bird', and I once saw one the size of a Mack Truck there.
Spiders, however, I hold in unique esteem. They're amazing creatures and I never kill them. Anything that murders houseflies are OK with me.
Liz Dwyer said…
I know! I don't understand why he's scared of one but not the other. The spider in his room last night was the size of the nail on my pinky, not the size of my hand like some of the tarantulas we saw yesterday!

Well, what was really cool was that one of the scientists brought some bug fossils that were 200-500 million years old, so my son got to see those. He thought it was very cool that bugs have been around so long.

I'm ok with spiders as long as they stay outside. But if they're in my house, they've got to die!

I guess with the big tarantulas he gets to see the scientist holding it like it's no big deal and explaining to him how to treat a spider. But none of the scientists are ever holding the random house spiders we have here. And I hate cockroaches too, especially the flying ones. Those freak me out.

I've been more afraid of them ever since my mother-in-law got bitten by a brown recluse spider that was just hanging out in a closet. She had to be quarantined for two months after that. I knew to watch out for black widows, but gosh, the effects of a brown recluse bite are horrible.

Yeah, I caved. Two for a $1 sealed the deal. I just hope the silkworms survive the trip to school. And they want another hamster, but given that we've had two that haven't even lasted a month with us, well, maybe it's not the pet for us!

I hate them no matter what size, big or small! When I lived in China, they were so bad that I'd open the door to my apartment and they'd be flying down the hallway in swarms. It was horrible.

Spiders do catch flies, but they are sooo creepy-crawly! I don't have arachnophobia but I'd be just fine if I never sawa another spider again!
the joy said…
What a cute set of names for unusual pets! I love that you explore with your kids and don't limit them. I'd be squealing on the inside at the bug fair.
Liz Dwyer said…
The Joy,
They're all 1950's with those names, aren't they? Love it. And you should've seen me when the guys asked, "Do you wanna hold the tarantula too?" Um, that would be a NO!

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