A few days ago…okay, last Sunday…Liam and I were
writing poetry based on the paradoxical nature of fairy tale heroines requiring the aid of a male to reach the plot’s resolution playing with some blocks in his toy room. I noticed a spider of the small, unobtrusive type; an itsy, bitsy spider if you will, creeping its way down a thin line of webbing in the middle of the door frame. I pointed it out to Liam, so that he could observe his first real-life spider with a real-life web. His only point of reference before being the song and the hand movements of a spider.
My intention was not to disturb the spider. I am not a fan of the big, hairy ones, but the smaller ones I usually either let roam or collect gently and release outside. The logic being that large spiders=deadly and small spiders=friendly and harmless (duh). I wondered how Liam would react to the arachnid. I mean most people love kittens and hate spiders, but Liam hates kittens…
I believe his first reaction was “Whoa.” And then his ninja-like toddler reflexes attempted to grab the spider, which obviously would have promptly ended the fun. Luckily, spatial development saved the spider as Liam missed and just ended up holding onto the invisible string of web and the spider dangled from his hand. Even more enthralled he kept trying to grab the squirming spider with his free hand, eventually releasing the spider from the web. They both dropped to the floor, the spider pumping those six teeny legs as fast as it could to get…well, anywhere else, and Liam on his hands and knees peering at the little guy with absolute fascination.
His fascination became a bit more obsessive and I started fearing for the poor spider’s life. Liam was using all of his best motor skills to pick that little sucker up. Think about how you might pick up a penny that’s flat on the ground. You press down with your thumb on one end and and lift up with your finger on the other end. Yeah, that’s one way Liam was trying.
Gentle…gentle! I reminded him apprehensively. He babbled back to me in excitement. Are you SEEING this, MOM??? SOO COOL!! Okay, he didn’t really say that, but if his words made any sense at all I’m pretty sure that’s what they’d say.
Eventually the odds turned in Liam’s favor and he stabbed a finger, injuring the spider’s back legs. At this point I felt like I was watching some kind of gladiator-like, slow-death murder in a primary-colored arena. I sneakily gave the hobbling spider a foam puzzle mat piece as if it were a life-raft and let Liam spin around in confusion a couple of times before I said, “Aw, I guess the spider’s all done. (Throwing in the sign for understanding.) Say bye bye!” Liam dejectedly opened and closed his fingers, still looking for his little friend to be peering around a stray block. Almost enough for me to just let him play with the creature and finish it off…but not quite.