My middle son was a soft-spoken little guy who never made a fuss. He loved to go outside and walk around on our back deck looking through the fence, up at the trees and down at the yard. He pointed to birds. He talked to squirrels. He didn’t miss a thing.
I kept an eye on him out on the deck. With a baby in my arms, I looked out the window and saw he was pointing towards the house — his little mouth forming words.
“Bug Mom, bug” he said as I opened the window. “Bug, mom, bug.” He was so calm that at first I didn’t think much of it. But he wouldn’t stop. His husky voice got more excited and compelled me to hurry out to where he stood, right up against the house.
“What have you got there, honey?”
“BIG bug Mom!”
“No! No! Get away!” I said as he reached up towards a huge, hairy tarantula, about the size of my hand. It inched it’s way towards my little angel. Panicked, I pulled him away, fearing the thing would jump.
Now I know that tarantulas aren’t poisonous. But don’t go stroking their little tummies and then rub your eyes. The hairs on their stomach can make soft tissue swell up. “They” say tarantulas are one of the least dangerous spiders and their bite is only like a bee sting. Yep, I can see its little mouth pincers now, clamping onto the end of a tiny finger.
Rescue him I did. The monster crawled away back up the side of the house. I’m sure my son doesn’t remember it. Trauma has a way of erasing itself from our memories. I know that’s not what I wrote in this article.
I still replay this scene in my head, thankful I got out there before my son grabbed the thing. He liked to play with critters but hopefully never another tarantula.
Ants in the Pants
That episode ended without incident, unlike the next. The kids were out playing in the yard, scrambling up the hill, then rolling back down till they got dizzy. I was around the front of the house when I heard screams. Huge gobs of adrenaline kicked in, so I bounded like a deer around the corner of the house. There was my little guy with swarms of red ants crawling all over him — his pants, shoes and sweatshirt.
What to do? What to do? Not wasting time, I struggled to pull the sweatshirt up over his head. Then to my horror it got stuck on his head. (He had a big head.) So my screaming child, who couldn’t see and probably now couldn’t breathe, danced around trying to escape the bites. He lost his footing on the hill and down he went. I finally got the sweatshirt off. Then I tackled his pants. It took a hose to wash off the rest of the ants still crawling over his little body.
Talk about trauma! My poor child! It was like he’d had a bad nightmare — shaking, sobbing, not wanting me to let him go. It took hours to calm him down. Another trauma I prayed he’d forget. I certainly didn’t.
The Mouth Breather
At two years old, I found this same little sweetheart sitting on the couch with toys strewn around him. I heard him from way across the room, making a noise like the Snuffleupagus on Sesame Street. He looked up at me with those big blue eyes and an expression that said, “Help me!”
“What’s the matter?
He kept trying to breathe, then pointed to his nose so I looked. I saw a big grey thing stuck up in one of his nostrils. (No, it wasn’t what you think.) I tried to pull it out but it wouldn’t budge and I didn’t want to push it in even further.
He snuffled like someone with a bad cold. He was holding one of his favorite toys, the Hulk. The Hulk was missing a head. You guessed it! He had ripped the head off and shoved it up his nose. Then the toy took over, swelling up from the moisture in his nose.
You remember the Hulk, don’t you? Bruce Banner was a scientist on the run from the U.S. Government. He turned into a monster whenever he got angry. Then he swelled up and went on a rampage.
But in the hands of a toddler, he didn’t stand a chance. A quick trip to the doctor’s office and we had my little sweetie breathing freely again, even without Navage, the world’s only nose cleaner!
Being a mom to three young ‘uns has been a wild ride! But it’s nothing compared what my folks went through with five under the age of five at one point. By the time number six came along, we kids had a few adventures under our belts. Stay tuned!