Sunday, July 11, 2010

If I Had to Choose a Favorite Bug....

It's not that I hate bees, wasps, hornets, or anything that has the ability to sting.  I'm simply out of my mind terrified of them.  This happened almost two years ago, and I still get breathless thinking about it.  That's partly because these fellows still get in somehow, and it always happens while the girls are taking a nap.  All is calm, I am getting ready to enjoy some peace and quiet, but I hear a buzz, and sure enough there is a wasp crawling around on the window. 
I react the same way every time (which is about once a week).  First, I gasp and then say, "OhmygoodnessohcrapohmygoodnessohcrapohmygoodnesswhatamIgoingtodo?" Then I go get a shoe, and text Jesse to tell him there is ANOTHER wasp on our window.  The third step takes forever.  I just stand there staring at it and feeling like I'm going to faint.  A tiny voice tells me that this wasp that I'm looking at is not that big, but I don't believe it.  To me, it's enormous.  It's Animal in the Muppet Movie when he grows so big he busts out of the building  that he's playing the drums in.
Sometimes I take a break from staring at it and text Jesse again to give him an update. "Can't kill it." or "It's so scary!" or "Can you come home and kill it?"  (I have the luxury of knowing the wasp will be right where it is because once they get into our place, they don't fly.  They just walk up and down the same window.)  But it always ends in me having to get closer and closer, then slowly raising my shoe covered hand to eventually crush it.  I hate every part of this, but killing it is the worst.  Afterwords I feel sick.  I have to sit down.  I gave birth to an almost 10 pound baby and minutes later got into a heated conversation with the nurse trying to convince her that "I can totally stand up and walk to the recovery room," but something that weighs less then my wedding ring gives me pause.

But it's summer now so I have to deal with wasps and other kinds of bugs.  It's probably a good thing; facing your fears and all that.  If a wasp was on our window and I was all by myself, I'd probably just leave and have Jesse deal with it when he got home.  Because that's the kind of wimp that I am.

The only bug that does not in any way freak me out is the firefly.  I love these guys.  Who doesn't like sitting outside on a summer night and watching lightening bugs? They don't come flying around, buzzing in your ear.  They don't want a piece of what you're eating. They just fly around lighting up the evening.
That's why, when we saw them for the first time this summer, and Hadley freaked out (a skill she learned from her mother), I was the first to calm her down.  "No, no, Hadley.  These are the good guys.  These bugs are really cool!"  And so we stayed outside and watched them do their thing.  We tried to catch a few so Hadley and Harper could see them up close.  We "oooed and ahhhed" along with the girls.  And then I started wondering if there were any books on fireflies. 

I found The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle that we've been reading at home recently.  Like all of Carle's books, the pictures are great and the story captivates both Hadley and Harper. I, however, am a little sad throughout the entire story until the firefly finds his friends.  I like the last page where he and his friends seem to be having a little party in the night sky.  I thought it would be fun to re-create this last scene with the girls, plus, it gave me an excuse to use the ridiculous amount of glitter I recently purchased at Micheal's.

Here's my night sky:

I traced a bunch of "bodies" for the bugs, along with wings and heads for Hadley and Harper to put together.
I showed Hadley how to put together the first one.  She probably could've figured it out, but I really wanted to use the glitter.  From Hadley's face, you can tell she did, too.

And then I let her give it a try (Harper wasn't too interested at this point).

After we made several, we put them on our night sky.

The finished product:

These guys are hanging in the room that the wasps come in, sort of as an example of the kind of behavior I expect from any bug.  No buzzing.  No flying in my face.  No stinging.  If you can't abide by these rules, I'll need to get my shoe.  That's just the way it is.


  1. Hi, Callie, I just saw your post on the KidLitosphere list and came over to visit your blog. Loved your bug post! I had a wonderful picture book about a firefly when I was a child many long years ago. It was called The Little Squeegy Bug. It actually came out in 1946 and those old editions cost an arm and a leg. A new edition came out in 2001, I think--they say it's shorter than the original. The story is about a sad, lonely little bug who seems to have no purpose in life. He decides he wants to be a bee and have a stinger in his tail. But a wise spider convinces him he should have a light in his tail instead. Then all the other bugs love him because he can light the way at night. Oh gosh, I loved that story! I still have the book and it is in tatters.

  2. Hi Callie, I'm visiting from Kitlitosphere also. My bugaboo is spiders. I am brave around the kids but on my own I'll empty a whole can of Raid on the little buggers. You and your girls might like my blog,

  3. What a brilliant response to a personal fear. Making a talisman to post as "rules for the winged" is a happy example of how art can bring power -- even if it's wasps and fireflies we're talking about.

    I've never been a fan of the fast moving centipede that skittled about during finals week in my lower level dorm room. I should have found some glitter!!

  4. A couple more bug books to help desensitise your girls (and you!) are 'Aaaarrgghh, Spider!'
    by Lydia Monks - absolutely hysterically funny story about a spider whose one wish is to be a pet of the family in his house- and 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' by Eric Carle, which is so sweet and teaches counting and the life cycle of a butterfly as well as having a subliminal message about greed.

    I had a bad wasp experience too- nearly hospitalised- so I do understand. I hate them and freak a bit too when I have to get them out of the house, even though I like most bugs.