“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” ~Marie Curie
Each of my 6 children have been afraid of something. Not just a little timid. Terrified. And the something they have been afraid of? Nine times out of ten: BUGS.
We tried the usual things. Talking and explaining and reading stories about insects. With some of the kids, this worked well. For some, it did not.
So we tried a few more things, like visiting the butterfly exhibit, or the Bug Zoo in the city where we lived…This also worked for a couple of them. But not for all.
I set up bug play bins for the more reluctant of my children…This technique was also helpful.
But I had one who couldn’t overcome. No matter what I tried. My middle son, whom we call Birdie, was having nightmares about bugs…bees in particular. I took him to the honey farm near our town. He was interested and curious, but still afraid when the lights went off at night. I made him a special bug-smacker for bedtime. No luck. I made him a “green bug-shield blankie.” Still no luck.
Then I had an idea. It involved bringing a bug home.
That’s right. I bought my son a pet bug. I wanted him to understand insects and be responsible for the care of one. I thought if he could think of the bugs as friends and companions, just like a hamster or a fish, he might “forget” to be scared of them. I couldn’t bring a bee home to him, so I went to the pet store and found the perfect bug.
A Madagascar Hissing Cockroach.
I know what you’re thinking…SICK!
But just hear me out.
This particular breed of cockroach is vegetarian. That’s right. They eat veggies and fruit. They also live a REALLY long time. They are quiet. They are clean. They are gentle. And they are cheap.
Still not convinced?
Maybe this little picture story will help…
I don’t have digital copies of the construction of Joe’s house, but here are a few snapshots of the photos I made that day…Birdie built his bug’s house out of an old mild carton and some paint. He read a book with me on how to care for his new pet. He named him Joe. And then we scrapbooked the story together…
And they were friends. And Joe stayed beside Birdie in the cage on his bed every night. And there were no more nightmares about bees.And that summer, you couldn’t keep the bug net out of his hands. He was always catching insects and studying them before setting them free once again.
Today is the beginning of this week’s Weekly Kid’s Co-op, so if you’d like to link your kid-friendly idea, click the blue link below and follow the simple steps. If you’re not a blogger, but still want to participate, just click the view button and enjoy! There are always oodles of really great ideas to browse!
I don’t like bugs too, but I love this idea to help kids!
Yep, I’m convinced. You are the BEST MAMA in the world. I’ve held one of those before… And had a tarantula wall down my face too! I’d take the cockroach. 🙂
Hehehe! Thanks, Laura xo And yup…the cockroach would be waaaay better! He’s had two or three more since Joe and he makes race tracks for them! Lol! Cockroach races!! Bahahaha!
That’s the coolest thing ever… Hmmm… Christmas for my boy… 😉
WHERE DID YOU GET JOE?! Haha!
I’m an entomologist.. or I was before I decided to become a Stay At Home Mom. I’ve worked in forestry, for the city of Edmonton and was an interpreter at the Royal Alberta Museum’s Bug Room when I was a student at the UofA. Now I’m loving being an ento-illustrator.
Anyhoo.. we LOVE bugs in this house (I met my husband while doing forest insect research WAYYYYY up in northern Alberta), my kids are big bug fans, there’s no room for fear when Mama is constantly pulling things out of the gardens and compost bins, lol.
We were given a tub full of giant meal worms to feed to a friend’s chickens and we kept a pair for the kids to raise as pets, I would LOVE to get them a giant cockroach 😀
Oooo, we could SO be friends! I love bugs! I bought Joe at a a local pet store in Okotoks. They sell them as food for reptiles. They go for about 7 bucks. Birdie has added more to his collection since Joe…now he has Bob and Syd and Daisy. They have even come camping the RV with us! I’m sure you could find them here in the city at one of the pet stores 🙂
What a clever way to help your son. Really enjoyed your post 🙂
This is just beautifuL. I loved reading the wonderful ways you helped him get over his fear. Well done honey!