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The things that keep 3-year-olds up at night

August 20, 2009

M had a special encounter with a daddy-long-legs in my parents’ basement a few days ago.

The  fact that he saw a daddy-long-legs wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.  Nor is the fact that the spider was swiftly carted out of the house and into the garden anything unique.  He’s seen them plenty of times, and they have never really seemed to bother him.

That is, until M asked my mom if daddy-long-legs could bite.

A simple “no” would have been sufficient.  It might have eased M’s mind, and he could have continued what he had been doing when he first spotted the spider: blaring the demo song on the Cassio keyboard at full blast and dancing like a maniac.

But my mother, bless her knowledge-loving heart, decided to share some additional fun facts with M:

“Daddy-long-legs are actually one of the most poisonous and deadly animals on the planet.  But since their mouths are so small, they can’t bite us and hurt us!”

I had actually heard this little tid-bit once or twice but had never shared it with M (3 1/2 years old) .  Because I knew he would only hear the following as I spoke:

“blah blah blah blah POISON blah blah blah blah DEADLY blah blah blah BITE blah blah HURT blah.”

And I’m guessing this is why M came into our bedroom at 3:30 the next morning to ask Tim and me (as if he had been engrossed in a conversation with us), “So, if a daddy-long-legs bites me, will it make me die?”

Will it make you die?!

Tim and I spent the next half-hour convincing M that daddy-long-legs did not, in fact, pose any threat to him and did not harbor any evil desire to inject the world with their fatal poison and take over the planet and turn puppies into slaves and decapitate Big Bird.

I exaggerate.  But only a bit. 

Because there’s whole lot of worry and fear that needs to be calmed the frick down when a three-year-old thinks that there’s a horde of killers lurking in Grandma’s basement just waiting for their mouths to grow just a wee bit bigger so that they can  MAKE US DIE!!!

If only I could have directed M to snopes.com, which denies that there is any scientific evidence demonstrating that the venom of daddy long legs is fatal to humans.

But perhaps I’ll just have to settle for directing his grandmother there.

(You know I love you, Mom!)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jenny permalink
    August 21, 2009 12:20 pm

    lol now that is funny.

  2. August 27, 2009 3:31 pm

    When I was young we’d spend summers in the mountains of North Carolina with my great-grandparents who believed this same small token of information was helpful to tell a scared child.

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