by - Wednesday, May 13, 2015

This happened to be random weekday evening some time last winter. Aren't all the good stories accidentally made for random days? With us wearing slouchy shirts and stained tracksuits? Forget the hair, random will not do it justice. Nadia was busy playing Lego on the floor with her legs crossed and back hunched creating complicated architecture with simple resources. I was reading focusing on adjectives and consonants while listening to steady rhythm of water pouring down in the bathroom where Damian was occupying the space. We were in no anticipation of anything significant than maybe news at 8 pm or a meal around the same time. After a while Nadia asked for a toy she remembered sharply she had fun with when she was a toddler asking if she could play with it nicely while we summed up our thoughts. And she really should as it required getting it from the loft space so the ladder and some inconvenience was involved but there she had it - a toy puppy coming together with its travel bag in the most outrageous color of all pink. Evening went back to its quiet state only revolving around the same things enhanced with child's happy talk. And all of a sudden she jumped away screaming her blonde locks off seeking help in our calm presence. For a mere second I couldn't figure out what had just happened before my eyes until this large moving object kept circling around the table leg. Not long before we stood side by side in horror at the presence of this giant spider making its way in all the wrong directions. Once Damian caught it and disposed of ethically I felt her lips next to my ear: My legs are still wobbly. 

And so the lesson from this situation started to form. As a parent there's either a lot you can do or nothing at all. You decide your plan of action. Back when Nadia was still only wriggling her legs in the air and my job was to give her a gentle coo when needed we had this conversation with Damian about not letting our fears build up on her when she's older. Any kind of irrational or super realistic but socially unacceptable behaviour should be filtered quietly so that none of it get passed onto her -- especially our reactions to certain situations: burning a forefinger and remaining calm without excessive vocabulary, playing cards and losing exceptionally well (except when playing for money), coming into contact with bugs and creatures with more pairs of legs my heart can take at a time. Spiders, little beings made for no other reason than to test my body spasms any time. There's no spider policy anywhere in my home, yet they appear. Uninvited and behaving badly. Co-existing and claiming their righteous share of the floor.
 I get frightened no matter how ridiculous I may look and how many times it was explained to me they're not here to hurt me. But I get hurt just looking at them and the body they expose on me. I tried. I stayed calm when I spotted one and Nadia played alongside curiously examining the ungracious amount of legs. I explained what they were and we got on with undressing dolls and sharpening pencils. But we cannot fight the non fightable, we're bound to our fate, let it be handling the hair parting well or freaking out when necessity strikes. I gave in, I started panicking, showing emotions, erratic movements and sounds. A little while later I noticed her showing the discomfort and uneasiness when in contact with mini beasts - larger than domestic flies, unexpected crawlies, yes, spiders too. I am guilty of passing it onto her, performing the same show I've inherited from my mum and no amount of reasoning will help me come to terms with it. I feel guilty of shutting down the whole exciting world of discoveries just because I wasn't strong enough to be persistent. As I considered the change of approach from now till Kingdom Come, a thought stopped me in my tracks.

I know as sky is blue and English sky is gray, no amount of convincing will change my mind on creepy crawlies. Not after I died each time I was faced with spider or its relative and not a piece of dust or ball of fluff. Those know how to trick ya but I know hot to use this knowledge to protect myself. Do you think I should deny all of that? Tighten muscles, clench my teeth and play the hero I'm not? That's even worse in my book than showing emotions I'm not comfortable with. She's watching me constantly, will I fake feelings I want her to learn how to express? And in a few years from now hearing her praising my courage and efforts to stay calm knowing it's the total opposite, like her describing somebody else, attitude I'm so jealous of but far from implementing - will it be my victory? Who will she be really admiring? A real person or desired image? Not that I won't move mountains to become better person for her. Eat better, think before judge, clean teeth regularly or at least once a day. I's comforting to know we've overcome our weakness but it's destructible to wipe them off of the face of the earth completely, like they never existed, never will. To be afraid to show what's bothering us. We're not perfect and we're not meant to raise perfect people. We should be applauding authenticity. And may the image of her shaking legs fade away or it may not, I'll always look for ways to protect her from irrational or realistic fear no matter what.

Note to self: check for spiders after bringing stuff to the house from the loft. Immeasurably helpful.

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