I am a big chicken.
Ask anyone who knows me. I am afraid of some weird stuff.
I have no idea where most of these fears came from, but they are stuck in my brain, nonetheless.
Last week, as I was lamenting my 7-year-old’s decision to ride a carnival ride () my husband made a statement. Now, he’s a man of few words but, once in a while, he says something that resonates with me. (Don’t tell him that though.)
This time, it was:
“You’re going to have to let the kids learn to be afraid of their own things. Just because you’re afraid of certain things doesn’t mean they have to be.”
Right then, I made a mental note. I said to myself, “Self, stop forcing your weird unfounded fears on your children.”
Of course, this is easier said than done because I live with my children. My weird fears include, but are not limited to:
Bats. Or as I like to call them, rats with wings. When I was a kid, I had many a terrifying nighttime swim when a “harmless bat” mistook my head for a giant bug sticking up out of the water.
When I was in college, my two roommates and I nearly had to evacuate our apartment before one of them caught an invading hairy/leathery beast in a popcorn bowl and threw it outside. I wouldn’t let her kill it because I was afraid its friends would come and avenge its death on us during the night.
Yes, I know bats are good for the environment. Yes, I know bats eat thousands of bugs a night. Yes, I know bats will not hurt me. Yes, I am still terrified of bats.
Clowns. Lots of people read Stephen King’s book, IT. Therefore, lots of people are scared of clowns. Even if the clown doesn't have a mouthful of razor sharp teeth and live in a storm drain, there’s still something weird about putting on makeup, squirting flowers and giant shoes and stuffing yourself into a car with 25 other people wearing grease paint and rubber noses.
House centipedes. Where I come from, these horrible bugs don’t even exist. I had never even seen one (which was perfectly fine with me) before I moved to Northeast Ohio. Now I find the million-legged, tiger-striped, shiver-inducing creepy bugs at least twice a month. Usually in my bathtub!
I can’t even bear to stomp them myself because there are always a dozen legs that won’t. Stop. Twitching. Arrgh!
Waterslides. Let’s think about this. Eight stories of steep, slippery stairs. Hard, narrow, pitch-black tubes filled with rushing water. Straight down at 50 miles an hour without a seatbelt or even a seat. Thank you, but no.
Spontaneous combustion. People! Have you read about this? You just never know.
Peach pits. When I was five, I dreamed that someone stole my mom’s eyeballs and replaced them with peach pits. I didn’t even try to eat another peach until thirty years later. Actually, I didn’t even allow peaches in my house until then, either, now that I think about it….
Ferris wheels. They are tall. They spin. They barely hold you in. They are rusty. They travel around the country. Some nuts and bolts are bound to get lost somewhere along the highway. They could, at any moment, break loose from the middle hub and go bouncing down the midway, spewing carnage at every turn.
Dragonflies. Beautiful. Delicate. Harmless. Fairy-like. Scary.
Ends of hot dogs. I told you I was weird. I refuse to eat the ends of hot dogs. They totally gross me out. If no one’s around to take that first bite for me, I will be forced to saw it off with my fork.
There’s more – oh, yes. Bridges, swimming in the ocean, tornados, sleeping with my hand hanging off the bed, red cabbage, salamanders…you get the idea.
But so far, so good on the “scaring my children” thing.
My kids want to build a bat house in our yard. They want to go to the circus. They love all kinds of bugs, carnival rides and the waterpark. They have no problem whatsoever with hot dogs or peaches.
I guess I’ll concede to my husband on all of those things, but I’ll tell you this:
My children will be scared of spontaneous combustion.
As should we all!