Monday, June 02, 2008

My Son is Terrified of Bugs.

Did I go wrong somewhere in my parenting? Did my own irrational phobia of bugs transfer to him in the womb? Questions, questions.

First off, I loathe bugs. Spiders are pretty high up there on the list, but the CRUNCHY bugs, like beetles and roaches, can make my blood run cold. I was a constant victim of adrenaline in our first apartment when Hubby and I were first married: we lived in Houston and our apartment was infested with roaches. It was nightmarish, truly. They would come out of the sink drain at night, and run around our counters, lay eggs, etc.

Ugh, I shudder, just remembering. When I was growing up, I lived in a nearly 100-year old house, and I was constantly smashing HUGE brown spiders. In fact, the hairs on the back of my neck are standing straight up right now, just because I'm typing about bugs.

Maybe I can blame my dad. I remember him squashing spiders, and chasing after us all over the house with the squashed spider on a tissue. I remember thinking I will seriously die if he wipes that on me. So, THANKS, dad. I can blame my irrational fear on you. ;-)

So, my phobia seems to have landed squarely on Thing Two. Thing One is afraid of bugs, too, but she's a girl. How many of you have sons who do the "bug dance" over a fruit fly? My son does. He's nine, and he's a big boy, and he crumbles at the sight of beetles. Spiders send him right onto the furniture, madly clutching pillows in a panic. Beetles have the power to send him running, screaming, out of the room. He freaks out when it rains, because all the worms come up and he has to walk around them in the morning when he takes the bus to school.

But lately, his arch nemesis has been....da de da da: MOSQUITOES. You get one of those bad boys around him and he has a meltdown of flapping and screaming. Luckily I got him out of the "screaming" thing, so now he just "flaps" silently and moves away.

He's going to get teased in school. Mercilessly. I feel bad for him. Once they find out his weakness, he's done for.

I tried not to make him afraid of bugs. I've even practically bitten my own tongue in two and fought off the shakes, just calmly holding a beetle or a caterpillar (shudder) in my hand for him to see, when he was growing up, to see that they are "harmless."

I know they're harmless, for the most part. But they're squishy and crunchy and ugly and fast and dark and loathesome, and I just have no interest in them whatsoever. My other son, who is seven, is fine with bugs. He's the designated "bug squisher" at our house. He's the only one brave enough. But, poor Thing Two...



Lowa said...

Try not to worry too much. Everyone is who they are, and if people tease him (if they find out) then that is THEIR problem. Work with him on being proud of who he is and feeling secure in that.

It must be a genetic thing. I think it is awesome that you have attempted (what a brave mother!!) to hide your fear. I don't think people should assume girls are afraid of them and guys are not.

My hubby is scared of snakes and FREAKING OUT that I am going to get our son a ball python for his 13th birthday this month. I ADORE snakes AND bugs. I am female. Ya see where I am going with this?? LOL

wfbdoglover said...

My friend has a 13 year old who is afraid of bugs, fish, lightening and the outside in general.

He won't go camping because of the bugs.

I know the museum, next to the butterfly display, has all sorts of bugs live and dead - in displays. Maybe a visit there will help overcome? I think on one field trip, they had people that brought out a millipede.

Hoeffer's tropical pets on 76th at Good Hope Road has tons of pets - snakes spiders alligators. It is almost like a zoo. Maybe check it out.

Maybe start off with family movie night.... a Bug's Life.

Lara said...

"A Bug's Life" was actually one of his favorite movies, growing up.

Go figure.

Laura, I'd freak out too! Snakes always poop on me!

Michelle Miles said...

Hm. I don't think it's anything to worry about. He may grow out of it.

I HATE bugs, too. I have lots and lots of spiders and carpenter ants in the house. I have to kill them constantly. My kid brings home books about spiders so I try VERY hard not to be squeemish about them. hehe

Your blog was down earlier or I would have been here sooner!

Unknown said...

Put a dryer sheet in his pocket. It keeps away mosquitos and bees. And he'll smell spring fresh. :)

Anonymous said...

Both my boys are afraid of bugs. Spiders are the worst, but stinging things comes a Very Close second.

At some point, I suppose they'll grow out of it, or marry some girl who can squash things herself.