i may have just inadvertently passed on my bug phobia to bella.
it wasn't intentional. i swear.
first some background. i. am. TERRIFIED. of all things creepy crawly. i think with the exception of lady bugs and maybe caterpillars (if i don't think about it too much), anything that is small and insecty leaves me frozen in fear. quite literally.
a few years ago, while we were living in hawaii, i was in the back yard, doing some cleaning and mowing. i reached out to put the cover on the grill, threw it up over the top and began to spread it out. then i saw it. a big old ugly centipede. it wasn't the biggest i have seen-maybe 4 or 5 inches long, 1/2 an inch wide. centipedes may be the nastiest, ugliest, meanest, creepy-crawliest of all bugs. and my hand was less than a foot away from it. i jumped back from the grill. then i stood there, trembling, unable to move due to the fear that had taken over me.
that's what it's like when i see bigger bugs. i am frozen. i start to panic a little. sometimes i cry.
irrational? absolutely. but it is also absolutely real.
when bella came along, i didn't want her to have any of my fears. aside from bugs, there aren't really any. i do kind of freak out when i am in too small a space or am not able to move my arms. but other than that, i consider myself somewhat brave. i'm not scared of heights or water (i have a healthy respect for water, though), not scared of dogs, or birds, or being alone. but bugs, that's another story.
so, i tried to not freak out about bugs when bella could see me. it was hard at first. my instincts want to scream or cry. i start to shake, sometimes violently. but, especially lately, i have been trying really hard to hold it together.
then there was this morning.
we are walking out to the car and in the doorway, right outside is a roach. one of those big ones. and bella is reaching for it.
"NO!!!" i scream without thinking.
she jumps back. looks at me with a scared expression. her lip juts out and starts to quiver, ever so slightly.
"i'm sorry, baby. it's ok. don't be scared. that's just yucky. don't touch it because it's yucky." i tell her, as i pick her up.
but i am shaking all over. and i know she can feel it. she squeezes my arms tightly and starts to whimper.
"daddy, come clean up the bug please." i try to sound calm and confident. i am failing.
joel comes in with a box, scoops it up and shows it to bella.
"see bella, nothing to be scared of." he touches it. a shiver goes down my spine. bella hides her face in my shoulder.
joel takes it and puts it somewhere. i assume it's in the trash. outside.
a little while later, i am doing dishes and i hear bella scream. it sounds like she is hurt. when she cries, we try to not make a big deal out of it, so i walk calmly to her and ask, "what's wrong?"
then i see it. the box. on the floor, upside down and open. bella is standing several feet away. frozen. shaking. and crying.
i throw our, "let's make her tough and not make a big deal out of things" stance out the window, sweep her up and go sit on the couch, far away from the little intruder.
we rock and i tell her, "it's alright. nothing to be scared of. it'a just a bug. it's just yucky. but it's not scary."
i get up, hold her close and walk over to the box. i kick it over and let her look at it from the safety of my arms. "see bella? nothing scary."
i flip the box back over and slide it out the door, being very careful not the let it open up, lest the nastiness inside jump out and land on my face. i shut the door and walk back to the couch. she is still shaking. still whimpering.
"it's ok. it's ok. it's just a bug. nothing to be scared of." i tell myself, as much as i tell her.