Posts Tagged ‘ spiders ’

Why I Hate My Toddler’s Favorite TV Show

Monday, October 29th, 2012

You know what pisses me off? Television for my kids. Okay, I’ll admit it. Fia hasn’t learned to spell or read only from us. We read books every night, but what has really taught her is Sesame Street and Super Why. Both PBS shows (please don’t take away Big Bird if–god forbid–you get elected Romney).

But what these shows, particularly Super Why, has also taught her is to fear–of the dark, of shadows, of monsters. These are things she never even contemplated before. She has always slept in a pitch-black room, with one small nightlight. But ever since an episode of Super Why where the little girl was scared in the night, Fia has insisted we keep her closet light on and her door slightly open. The latter has meant she can hear Emmett cry and subsequently she wakes up. But that’s not nearly as frustrating as watching her become afraid.

Her recent fascination with shadows is at times fun and playful (and annoying when you decide on a stupid whim to have her sleep in bed with you), but other times it’s steeped in fear. “Mama, look at that shadow!” she’ll whine. “It’s S-C-A-R-Y!”

Spiders are another one. In the past she loved to look at them. Now she screams, “Mama, a spider!” and runs the other way. Even spider webs, which used to fascinate, have her freaked.

I don’t want to totally bash TV because I am fully aware of the tradeoff. She has learned a ton from it. But producers, do you have to frighten in your themes? Learning is fun for them. Being scared isn’t.

If we never taught our children to fear the dark or spiders, would they grow up not afraid? Or is this something that eventually happens by being a member of society anyway? In other words, am I kidding myself to think I could have avoided her arachnophobia if she hadn’t seen those episodes? I’m not sure. I know she never learned the word “mine” and toy-grabbing until she hung out with kids who did that. But how did those kids learn? Was it just inherent in their personalities and thus this is just part of life? Or did they learn it from someone who learned it from something, and so on?

Of course when it’s appropriate, she’ll learn stranger danger (we should probably start on that soon), the basics of safety and eventually the staggering problems of the world. But during the tender age of toddlerhood I could stand her being left in the dark a bit longer. Without a light on.


Afraid of Dark Picture via Shutterstock

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Irrational Pregnancy Fears

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

They're Lurking Everywhere. I Just Know It.

The other day while Fia and I were at the playground, I got the following voicemail from Phil:

“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 called him back with dread. He picked up on the first ring:

“What is going on?”

“What do you mean?” I say.

“I’m really trying hard not to get pissed here, but what the f—k?”


Then, “Because of the spiders,” I said meekly.

“Jill—have you ever seen a black widow anywhere on our property?”

“No, but they exist!” I said, trying to defend myself. “There are cobwebs on all the lawn furniture.”

He cut me right off. “You are being ridiculous. We are not going to live in fear. We are not going to make Fia afraid of spiders. And we’re sure as s–t not spraying a bunch of toxins all over everything.”


He continued: “Did you know what they told me? That spiders hold their breath. So in order to kill them, they have to literally drench everything with chemicals.”

More silence.

“I am going to assume this is one of your stupid pregnancy things and I’m going to get over it. But seriously, you need to get a grip.”

I had irrational pregnancy fears with Fia before and after birth. And now, well, I guess they’re baaaccck.

Thing is, I knew he was right. I mean I’m the one who insists on using the Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent (even though he insists his clothes aren’t as clean) because I don’t like the chemicals. Most of my cleaning products, toiletries, etc. are “green.”  We live in a beautiful setting with blackbirds and doves who flock to our yard every morning. So dousing it with chemicals goes against everything I am typically about. But as we all know in pregnancy, nothing that is typical remains so. All fears and anxieties seem to take on a heightened world of their own.

Part of me blames my friend Jenn for the spider fiasco. She moved here from Brooklyn a while back and told me she found a family of black widows on her porch. She has an 8-year old and called pest control. After hearing her tale, I decided to be proactive.

Think it kind of backfired…

Two days after Phil’s irate phone call, I picked flowers from our garden and brought them in. The next day there was a spider on the curtain. And a web in the flowers. I assume I brought in the creature. I thought, I swear to god if that’s a black widow, I will march into Phil’s office and freak the f—k out. Then march out smugly.  I took this picture and googled it.

Red Back Jumping Spider

It’s a Redback Jumping Spider. They bite and have venom, but nothing too severe. Definitely not fatal. Nevertheless, I made Phil get rid of it. He didn’t kill it. He put it back outside, so it’s sure to come haunt me again.

I’m also getting worse on my cleaning issues. If I find a few crumbs on the counter—or god forbid a hair– it makes me crazy. I could puke just thinking about it.  I don’t want company because I don’t want the mess.

I guess with Baby Boy just 3 weeks away, these fears and obsessions may get worse. What should I do? Try and get hypnotized to get over them? Or just wait until I can take Xanax again? Any advice? Any good tales of your own? HHHEEEELLLLLPPPP!

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