I have never, ever liked spiders. I remember when I was young and I would get up to my bedroom to get ready for bed, have a read, or whatever other reason I was up there, and if I spotted a spider, I would stand, stuck to the spot and shout out ‘Daaaaaaaaaaaaaad’. You would hear a low mumble of ‘what’, which you could tell came with a big sigh, because he knew exactly what the problem was and it involved him moving from whatever he was doing to come and get rid of it!
He was my spider hero. He pretty much always caught them – mainly because if he dared to lose one, he knew that he would have an annoying child making him search high and low and who would probably that night have nightmares.
I remember the time that my family tried to make me watch Arachnophobia and I played out in the garden throughout the entire film because I just couldn’t bring myself to watch it. In fact, it was only a couple of years ago that I did watch it for the very first time.
I also remember the time when I was at home alone in one of the flats I used to live in, sitting happily watching tv with my cat, and out of the corner of my eye I saw something scurry past me. I knew immediately what it was and it was huge. I tried so hard to entice my cat to do the job for me but oh no, she just played with it until it played dead, played with it some more and then left it for me to deal with. And my dealing with it was by throwing the yellow pages on it.
So yeah, I have always hated spiders.
But – I never ever in a million years believed that I would become a spider catcher. I was the one that had to splat it from a distance (yes I know we aren’t supposed to kill them but I couldn’t do anything else, frozen to the spot in fear). And then I had kids. And that eldest one got to an age where it was no longer appropriate to splat spiders and instead I had to start catching them and releasing them back into the wild.
And now? Now I feel like the master of spider catching. I mean, don’t get me wrong, if the other half is home, I leave it up to him. He doesn’t mind them – it’s fair to say that he even quite likes them. So if he’s home then he deals with them!
But most of the time it’s me that’s home. And if Zach spots them then I have to get rid of them (yes, I may have unfortunately shown him too much of my fear but I have always tried to hide it as best as I can).
And so I have become the expert in the glass and paper trick. Although I absolutely have to use something thicker like an envelope or piece of card for fear of feeling it wriggling beneath my hands. But each time, I psyche myself up for the challenge and out the window or door it goes.
And you know what? I am blooming proud of myself. We live in Hertfordshire and some of those spiders are blooming hefty! Sometimes they have big thick bodies and sometimes they have long spindly legs. At the moment, our garden is absolutely full of horrible looking ones who set up webs from side to side trying to catch me out (ok, I know that they are trying to catch flies but it feels like some sort of trap for me!). Thankfully none of those ones have come into the house because they are freakish looking and I will have an absolute meltdown if I see one of them waiting to be manoeuvred.
But yes, I am proud that I have kind of overcome my fear, to show that they aren’t really to be fearful of. That they just simply need to be returned to the outside, alive and well. And whilst Zach (and Oscar) confidently watch me collect them up and place them back in the wild, I shall continue to have internal palpitations. I shall continue to take silent deep breaths throughout the rescue. And I shall continue to be hero mummy!
Do you have any fears that you try desperately not to show to your children?