Spider Terror

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spider drawing

Yesterday there was a “spider incident” at preschool. I was told right when I arrived to pick up Beckett, and learned that several children freaked out when a spider appeared on Beckett’s arm during play time. Later it appeared on a girl’s back. I didn’t hear of the spider’s ultimate fate, so I was really feeling unsatisfied with the report- like I had missed a punchline- but knew I’d be in for an earful when I got Beckett in the car.

I got several thousand earfuls throughout the course of the day, a few billion questions, a half hour of Googling spiders, several spider You Tube videos, many dozen impossible scenarios that could only be dreamed up by a 4 year old, and I started to wonder just how an incident like that affects the little brains of little children.

I’m working on a post that I’ll probably post next week, about learning and growing from our traumatic experiences (sound uplifting?) and I started to think that maybe this was a semi-traumatic experience for the children.

I heard from Beckett that: he almost cried, 2 girls cried, his BFF cried when he thought later there was a spider in his hair, and I was trying not to giggle, picturing what probably looked like a panic-stricken crowd running and screaming in terror from Godzilla.

All afternoon and evening these sorts of things came out of Beckett’s mouth:

“What happens if a spider tries to hug you?”

“Why was a spider in there with us?”

“What would happen if I hugged a spider?”

“Do spiders eat people?”

“How do spiders poop?”

“Do spiders live in our house?”

“There’s a spider over there.”

“There’s a spider over there.”

“There’s a spider.”

“I wish I was a spider.”

It didn’t stop. Boy was processing the spider incident. It was fascinating. I was trying to answer all of his questions patiently, and eventually get to the point where we were making spider jokes and singing spider songs. This worked quite well to lighten the mood and allow Beckett to move onto things he usually talks non stop about (superheroes and candy), so I was thinking we as adults might use this tactic when we are trying to empathize with our friends who maybe just lost a beloved pet or parent.

1. Listen and let the person get their pain out.

2. Start cracking jokes and singing silly songs about the situation.

This is pretty much how I always work through my own terrible situations, so I think it’s worth trying out with other people.


  1. 05/21/2014 / 10:53 am

    Now all you need is to watch The Amazing Spider-Man with him, and his circle of processing will be complete. Everybody wins.

    Because: Andrew Garfield.

  2. 05/21/2014 / 3:12 pm

    My teenage son is six feet tall and weighs in at 170 lbs and he still calls me to his room if he finds a spider.
    Don’t tell him, but I’m kind of glad he does.

    • 05/25/2014 / 11:15 pm

      Aw, that’s a mom-son bonding moment right there. It’s actually very sweet- here I was expecting Beckett to grow out of this in a couple of years…

  3. 05/21/2014 / 9:01 pm

    My favorite picture book for Beckett is Be Nice To Spiders. It’s a classic but a good one to appreciate spiders!

    • 05/25/2014 / 11:16 pm

      I’m all over that. If Pragmatic Mom suggests a kid book, you don’t ask questions, you just go buy it.

  4. 05/23/2014 / 2:28 pm

    That pretty much sums up how we deal with everything. Or at least TRY to deal with everything. My husband is way better at the making light of stuff — I just get cranky and say stuff like, “Oh, would you just get over it already?” It’ll be good material for their future therapy sessions.

    • 06/04/2014 / 11:42 am

      They’re collecting some lovely nuggets for future therapy sessions. In fact, I should just keep a running list so they can print it out and take it with them when they go. That way, they won;t have to try and recollect how we ruined them as children.

  5. 05/28/2014 / 9:50 am

    Haha! Oh my – the drama! Just think of all the future drama inspiring scenarios that await, as well! Good times!

    • 06/04/2014 / 11:43 am

      Such good times. Evidently he’s prone to drama, because he shattered my ear holes last night with his screams after he got a cut that started bleeding a little….

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