My World, Her World, Their World, Our World

Anyone who knows me will understand what a momentous occasion this was:


Adela’s first ladybug encounter. It was the first time she had a bug crawl on her. We were exploring the community garden, one of her favorite places (in part because she gets to eat a yummy tomato fresh off the vine), and I guided a ladybug onto my hand and then onto her hand.

What’s amazing is the trust. I love how my daughter trusts me implicitly. She opens her mouth to taste any new food I offer, and she lets me do things to her, like swipe sand from her eye, treat a wound with ice or aloe, or stretch and twist her into yoga poses. She’s a very relaxed baby, as you can see from our photos.

I don’t know where my love of insects originated, because my parents don’t share it. But, once it manifested, my mother nurtured it by encouraging my skill and craft of bug collecting. She would pound holes into pickle jars with a Phillips-head screwdriver, and she never put limits on my obsession. Eventually I could poke the holes myself. I got creative using pantyhose for mesh, until these awesome bug cages came my way that had screw tops and screens designed for the budding entomologist.

Once I had my own apartment and knew I’d be there a couple years because I’d started grad school, I got a pet Peruvian Pink Toe tarantula. My mom even came up with its clever name, “Ocho” (for eight legs). I had Ocho for almost 7 years (he lived to probably about 10 years old). A friend drove him all the way from Chicago to New York when I moved, since air transport would’ve been complicated and expensive.

I once had a sweet boyfriend who dug my love of insects, and bought me a few preserved specimens of rare beetles and spiders—which I appreciate, but would much rather see the creatures alive.

Bugs are the main reason I wanted to live in the rainforest, which I did for a while in ’97. Today I’m thrilled we have butterfly bushes in the back yard, that were here when we moved in. I….love….bugs! (But not pesky ones like mosquitoes, or cockroaches, or silverfish. Yuck!)

So, I’d like to poll my readers: How do you feel about bugs? And where do you think our attitudes come from? Do you have memories of particular encounters with bugs? Sure you do—A bee sting? A gorgeous butterfly? A pet catching and eating one? Are insects fearsome to you? I’m so curious! And, I want you to ask yourself what influences your relationship with these life forms.

I think being a steward of the planet entails befriending all its inhabitants. Start small, with bugs!

Read a piece I wrote about seeing nature close up, here.

About MommyTheorist

Editor, writer, photographer, and new mom
This entry was posted in Family, Health, Nature, New York, Outdoor, Parenting, Psychology, Relationships, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to My World, Her World, Their World, Our World

  1. Becca says:

    I hate bugs and I’m also scared of them…Dylan has a habit of coming up to me after picking things off the floor and handing his findings to me…I always take it and say “thank you, sweetie!” Well, about a month ago in FL visiting the inlaws, he came up to me with something and I held out my hand, and quickly realized that not only did this thing have a gazillion legs, but it was still moving – it was a palmetto bug. I screamed! Dylan got scared and started crying…I realized at that moment that I’m projecting my fears onto him which is so counterproductive for a child – it’s a great time to play with bugs. I remember I used to play with spiders at camp. Those days are long gone.

  2. Ahh! Palmettos! The stuff of nightmares. Thanks for reading & sharing your son’s story, Becca. It will be curious to see whether he turns bugs into friends or foes. If we realized how helpful to the planet, relatively harmless, and superneato they are, we’d welcome them more. I wonder when you became afraid? Children’s lack of fear is a marvel.

  3. karen levy says:

    Bugs……bug me. I prabably became desensitized to critters because of Michelle’s curiosity. They are welcome in my world, just not in my house, on my body, in my hair…or ANY of my personal orfices.
    i do like lady bugs, not crazy about spiders, and don’t want to be stung or bitten by any of them. Hence, I might screech and run on the golf course, especially in the autumn, when the wasps get manic. I’m not too crazy about the ones who eat my landscaping and orchids in Florida either.
    I don’t think your sisters share the same appreciation for nature that you do. That’s probably my fault too. Oh well…..glad I get some credit occasionally!!

  4. donna zapin says:

    I used to collect “roly poly” bugs in my backyard but now I find them icky. Last year in K my 5 year old studies isopods- roly pollies were back. I was less than thrilled. Living in Manhattan allows my encounters with bugs to remain limited although I did have a panic attack in the butterfly conservatory at AMNH. close-up they are very buggy. I also had a bed bug fear last year that sent me racing to buy mattress covers and sprays-I think I will send the bugs to you..

  5. I’ve never been a huge fan of bugs or insects, but as a child I love ants. We had a ton of ant hills in our backyard. I used to make up stories about how the ants lived thier lives – basically personifying them into talking characters. I also like flies. I name a fly ‘Nick’ once (which is ironically my brother’s name) and imagined he had a little blue backpack and went to school just like me. Maybe it was a little odd, but imaginative. I LOVED butterflies and ladybugs (still do!).I was always okay with bugs that I knew could not bite, sting or hurt me terribly. Insects like bees always scared me because I knew what they were capable of…

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