For example, while on a lovely walk through the woods yesterday, Matilda continually pointed out what he considered to be obvious, interesting, and wonderful man-things to our son. The centipede, while it drew rapt attention,did not stir the same Oh-Cool-Let-Me-Touch-It feelings Matilda thought it wound. Disheartened, he went for pointing out small fish in the lake but again, it was "too dirty" for junior to want to dip his toes in. Even the moss on his walking stick was just too much for our fastidious little boy to take and it had to be completely removed before he would touch it. But, perhaps, the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back was the frog. Yes, a sweet, tiny, jumping frog crossed our path. Matilda lit up like a boy scout earning his Kiss a Toad badge. He quickly scooped up the frog in his hand and proudly and excitedly knelt to show his son the wonder of this creature only to have Jack run screaming as if Stephen had shown him a rabid foaming skunk.
"It's because you always talk about everything eating him," Matilda grumbled as he released the amphibian with deflated emotion. Moi? Ok, so we play the What-animals-will-eat-you game frequently for fun. Personally, knowing which animals to avoid due to risk of deadly harm seems to be just good parenting skills but Hubby thinks it has caused crossed wires and made our son, our cried-at-his-shadow-for-the-first-year-of-his-life little boy, a sissy. I did point out that frog, centipede, and large sticks with moss were on the Safe list, which seemingly should have only reinforced positive and secure feelings, but I was again shot down for "engendering fear." I again pointed out that our daughter, whom we made in a similar fashion as our son and is privy to all "yes, sharks will eat you" conversations has pounced on and devoured many a crawling insect and had no problem heading straight for the Parana-infested lake water.
In the words of the now-famous and incredibly weird Lady GaGa, our tender-hearted little boy was just born this way. He will never be an adventure seeker. He will always play close to the house, swim next to the boat, and generally avoid most creatures with more than 4 legs. But, personally, as a mother, I find this behavior reassuring and quite a blessing as I just don't have to worry about him playing with the Black Widow that lives in front door. Plus, he will also most likely be incredibly strong, amazingly creative, hilariously joyous, and as gentle, adoring, and protective of his family as his father is with us.