The secret diary of a single parent bloke
Natalia brought me a glass with a card over the top, and asked me where she should put the huge spider it contained. This was one of the proudest moments of my life.
To explain why, we have to skip back a few years…
Natalia and Jack were terrified of spiders and pretty much everything else. Jack in particular used to have a major panic if any bug came near him, even a little fly. He’d shout and scream and run around wailing. Frankly, it was embarrassing. It was even more embarrassing when his mother did it.
A short while after my breakup with their mother, Natalia came to me because there was a spider in the bath. She was a bit flustered, and wouldn’t go into the bathroom. Usually I’d go in there, pick it up in my hands, and carry it to the garden, but today I decided to catch it in a glass, slide a piece of card underneath it, and then escort it outside.
Once caught, I invited the kids to come and have a close look. They were very apprehensive. I promised that I wouldn’t try to scare them with it, or set it free on their heads, etc. They cautiously came over (but not too near), look a quick look, then scarpered!
We frequently get spiders in the bath, so I kept repeating the procedure. Each time, Natalia and Jack would get a little closer and stay a little longer. I asked them for suggestions about where we could put the spider so that it would be out of the house, but safe from birds and anything else that might want to eat it (including the dog).
As time went on, they began to get quite excited about seeing a spider, and they’d get close enough for me to point to parts of its body and we’d talk about it.
And now, many months later, Natalia has just caught her first one. And it’s a big one! I’m so proud of them both.
Update: As I write this up, over 4 years later, it’s hard to imagine how they both were. Neither of them are scared of spiders, or any insect. Jack in particular, now aged 9, is a true nature lover: he can name almost any kind of creature, obscure insects from the Amazon; birds in the sky and creatures from the ocean depths. He’s a true naturist, and I’d like to think that me and my glass had a hand in that.