Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Confession of an arachnophobe

The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the water spout
Down came the rain and washed the spider out
Up came the sun and dried up all the rain
And the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again.

I'm not fond of spiders. Haven't been for as long as I can remember. My parents tried to help alleviate my dislike of them when I was a child by reading E.B. White's "Charlotte's Web" and learning about food webs. All that work went out the window when I learned about Shelob at 8 yrs old and then later when I learned more about the predatory nature of spiders.

The only thing I loathe more are scorpions.

So I've been hard pressed as of late as the Beats have become fascinated with spiders. Starting with Casper Babypant's rendition of the "Itsy Bitsy Spider," to Eric Carle's "The Very Busy Spider," to an entire 2 week unit about spiders at their daycare. Honestly, it's taken a lot to suppress the primal urge to squash and run away screaming. To talk with them about their observations.

And then something unexpected happened. Upon arriving in Boston and moving into our new home, the whole family discovered a common brown spider who resides by the mailbox. The Beats greet her every morning and evening, huddling around her web and excitedly pointing out their own "itsy bitsy spider."

I want to crawl out of my skin.

For all spider-lovers out there who are intent on educating me, trust me when I say that though I intellectually understand how fascinating and important spiders are, the hatred remains. 6 years ago, I attended a talk about spider silks (there are 6 different types) and learned about how the department of defense want to use this knowledge to improve soldier's body armor. Many in my cohort were focusing their dissertations on ecological problems, so I was well versed in food webs and the importance spiders play. I get it, spiders are unique and fascinating creatures. Then there's also the symbolism that spiders embody. Creation, rebirth, femininity and protection. During the Beat's NICU stay, there was a spider who resided outside their window and the nurses reminded me daily what a good sign her presence was. In addition to all of this, there's also a simple fact that while spiders (and scorpions) give me the willies, I'm strangely okay with crabs and lobsters. Grey likes to remind me what a hypocritical wuss I am.

Which brings us back to my current dilemma. I've made a deal with the spider. I won't attempt to cut her life shorter than it needs to be due to the Beats. But come winter, it is her job to find a space out of sight and move on from this world. Problem is, despite temperatures dropping down to freezing over the past week, she willfully refuses to give up the ghost. Instead she greets the Beats in the afternoon, displaying a new version of her web for them to marvel at. All the while growing and getting fatter off what little prey she finds.

I'm a bit at the end of my rope with this situation. As stupid and trivial as all of this seems, I'm secretly worried that this spider is going to find her way inside my home and become an addition to our family. Grey reminds me that we have larger, more pressing issues to worry about (and he's absolutely right), yet still I find myself hoping for temperatures to plummet sooner than later.

Itsy bitsy spider, pretty please go away.


  1. I am also not a spider fan. I co-exist with them in my garden because I'm on their turf and they are so beneficial. In the house, its a different story. If my husband is around he will catch them and release them outside. I'm not that brave I'm afraid.

  2. Spiders I can handle and don't really mind them, especially if they are ----> over there. Ants on the other hand.... *shudder* I feel about ants the way you feel about spiders.

  3. Spiders and ants and cockraches. Ugh. Crabs and lobsters, on the other hand. Delicious.


Design by Small Bird Studios | All Rights Reserved