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The Spider and the Whale

April 4, 2011

Soon after moving to our house in the Austin Hill Country we were introduced to a variety of pests unlike any in Chicago. Bigger and badder insects. Huge grasshoppers. Scorpions and tarantulas. Mean red ants. Huge black flying bugs of some kind (I still have no idea what kind). Big mosquitos. And snakes. As our house was being built one of our contractors said he saw a rather large rattlesnake on our upper driveway and ran it over with his truck. It slithered away and hopefully died. I’m happy to report that the snakes have stayed to themselves since we’ve lived here.

To help teach Lilly the seriousness of rattlesnakes and scorpions we got books on each subject and drilled her to RUN AWAY! if she sees either pest. She seems to get it. We think. Spiders, however, are a different story.

Craig found a tarantula in the garage last fall and carefully put it in a box so he could relocate it far from our house. We took Lilly out to see it and firmly explained that it was a RUN AWAY! bug. Right away she reached into the box to touch the big, hairy spider. And recently while gardening she proudly came over to share the spider she was tightly clasping in her hand. Obviously we left little impression on her that spiders can be dangerous, too.

Recently our niece, Courtney, made a trip to Urgent Care for a bite on her knee that showed up the day before. She did not know what had bitten her or when and it got infected quickly. The doctor she saw said it was most likely a bite from Brown Recluse spider. We got a text message that included a gory photo of her wound and decided to share it with Lilly to help illustrate a point.

As we showed her the disturbing photo we explained that Courtney was bitten by spider who was very bad and reminded  her to RUN AWAY! from spiders. There was more talk of doctors, bandaids and medicine. After reassuring her that Courtney was getting better, we took the opportunity to reiterate the important lesson: don’t touch spiders, RUN AWAY!

Lilly was very empathetic to Courtney’s situation and we felt like we might finally be getting somewhere with her when she said, “Yeah … next time we’ll have to teach Courtney to RUN AWAY! when she sees a spider.”

Good point.

We decided to make a special get well card for her cousin. In honor of the spider bite. Out came the crayons and paper and Lilly asked for help drawing a whale.

What in the world does a whale have to do with a spider bite?

Oh. A ‘get whale’ card. That Lilly is a clever one.

[Update: Courtney is fully healed and now knows to RUN AWAY! from spiders. I am sure the whale card assisted in her recovery.

I also Googled ‘get whale card’ and apparently Lilly isn’t as clever as I thought. Ha.]

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