Legitimate Fear or Irrational Parent Anxiety?

Okay, I have said before that I’m terrified of spiders. I’m especially terrified of my children getting bit by one. We live in the hills in Los Angeles. We are with the wild. We caught a possum. We had roof rats. And there are spiders everywhere.

When we first moved out here, I asked exterminators to come to our house. Phil intercepted them. Here’s an excerpt.

“Um, why the f—k is Pest Control here? They said you booked them to spray for black widows. I told them to leave. Call me.”

I happened to be 7-months pregnant so perhaps I was a tad hormonal irrational.

Fast forward to now. As in, last night. Phil was outside grilling. Fia was playing near him.

“Hey honey,” he yells. “I don’t want to freak you out, but I want to show you something.”

Keep in mind, I’m not pregnant. Which means I’m my normal incredibly levelheaded and stable self. BUT I DON’T WANT TO LIVE WITH SPIDERS.

I walk outside holding Emmett.

He points to a drain pipe about 6-inches from where Fia had been sitting.

“That’s what a black widow looks like,” he says calmly, and points to one with that telltale red hourglass on its belly.

Shockingly, I didn’t freak the f-ck out. Maybe because he shot me a look, like, not in front of the kids, like I did during a recent Fia freakout.

“Okay,” I said, trying to remain calm. “What are you going to do?”

“I’m going to kill it, but I wanted you to see what it looked like so we are aware of them.”

Really, just aware? I’m ready to bomb our place with a mix of comet, bleach and ammonia.

I walk into the kitchen with both kids and pour a glass of wine.

He comes in (post-killing) and tells me not to make a big deal about it in front of Fia.

“I don’t want her to be scared of spiders,” he says. Fair enough. (Lord knows, we’re both pissed at what her favorite TV show has made her frightened of…)

We eat dinner, put the kids to bed, and I begin Googling. Okay, I did come across a website that makes me think it could have been a brown widow. And they are not as venomous as their black cousins. Though it could have been the smaller brown female, which is still considered a black widow and can be deadly though it is rare for someone to die from the bite. Confused? Start Googling.

Nevertheless, we live in a wooded area, we have small children…should we exterminate? I spoke calmly and rationally with Phil about it. We made no decision on what to do.

This morning over coffee and Sesame Street, Phil says, “Maybe we should exterminate. Just to be on the safe side.”

Rather than smirking, I actually deliberated. I happen to be taking the kids out of town for a few days.

“We could do it while you and the kids are away.”

I nodded.

I really hate the idea of toxins all over my yard. I also hate the idea of killing a bunch of harmless insects. I imagine that Doctor Death (i.e.: Dewey Pest Control) has to douse everything. But a spider bite can be bad. I’ve had friends go to the ER because of them. My own mother almost died from a brown recluse bite. Okay, no one I know has actually died from one, but I have reason to be afraid, right? And reason to be fearful for my kids, correct? I’ve done some research and there really isn’t a non-toxic way to do exterminate. They may claim their way is, but it’s not. There are poisons and chemicals involved. If I could sprinkle some magical salt all over my yard or something, believe me, I would.

By the end of the day, I had called my dude Angel. He dealt with our roof rats. And possum. He’s coming over to deal with the spiders. I’ll have to start calling him my Angel of Death. Probably not the first time he’s been called that in his job.

 

And by the way, I’m not even putting a picture of a spider on this post because I don’t want to have to look at it. That’s how stupid my fear is. So Dr. Death and the cockroaches will have to do.

 

Picture of exterminator via Shutterstock

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  1. by Wendy Wainwright

    On November 27, 2012 at 5:33 am

    I have an “irrational” fear of spiders as well. My psychiatrist is working on this. So far it’s not helping. I also have an “irrational” fear of bees. I don’t see why either is irrational, they bite/sting. I’ve never been stung. If I’ve been bitten I attributed it to a mosquito. I grew up in Burbank, CA and there are a lot of black widow spiders. I can spot one at 10 yards easily. However I promise I have NEVER seen one in doors (unless you count the garage and I wouldn’t since no one ever went in there either). They generally lurk in dark corners no one goes near. Baby boy is all of 1 month old. I’m hoping he won’t be afraid of spiders (but will have a healthy respect for their biting possibilities). I’m hoping this will translate into a willingness to vacuum them up for me.

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