“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.”
― Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis
From my old online journal The Daily Epiphany – Monday, November 30, 1998
I’m not familiar with phobias. Irrational fear maybe, but to the point of debilitation? not really. I’ve always been afraid of the dentist, but that’s pretty common. I get over it. There was that fear of bad mayonnaise that I had for a while; irrational perhaps, but it didn’t really have any effect on my life.
Poor Lee has developed a horrible fear of insects, especially spiders. He has always been goosey around bugs, but on the camping trip it erupted into full-blown panic. There was a tiny spider in the van on the way back home and Lee completely lost it. I had to concentrate on driving while he jumped out of his seat and started screaming at the top of his lungs.
Today, Candy called me at work on the mobile phone. She was trying to take the kids to a friend’s house to see some new puppies but Lee was standing in the alley, adamant, he was not going to get in the van because he was afraid there were spiders in there. Candy finally managed to get Lee in the van but by then she had lost her temper, Lee was freaked out, everyone was at the end of their ropes. I talked to Candy, tried to calm her down, then had a long, long talk with Lee on the cell phone.
It was no use reasoning with him, his fear is obviously not a rational one. I mostly chatted him up, tried to get him back to normal. He did calm down, agreed to stay in the van, but kept saying things like, “I’ll keep my finger on the seatbelt button so I can get out of my seat if I see a spider.” I’ll have to convince him this wasn’t a good idea, he has to stay in his seat.
I’m not sure what to do. Lee is only six, he will outgrow this, but in the meantime we have to get him through. I did agree to take the van and Candy will drive the kids around in the Taurus. Lee was happy with this, but that means Nick and Lee will sit next to each other in the back seat, and that is like storing dynamite with lit matches.
I think I’ll get a book on collecting bugs, maybe that will help him deal with it. The whole killing jar and pins, and waxed cardboard thing is pretty distasteful, but if it helps Lee get over his phobia quicker, I’ll sacrifice a few insects (even some arachnids) in the cause.
Maybe an ant farm too, all kids like those. Except I’m sure they could break the ant farm playing ball in the house, that would be a scary mess. Better be careful.