I don't think it has been a secret on this blog that I don't like spiders. I think I've made it clear once or twice before. But I'm trying really hard not to pass on my neuroses to my children. And I think it's working, because Leah adopted a spider in the basement and named him Tim.
Tim was a smallish black spider, just inside the size category that I'm OK with, who was sitting very still on a shiny white expanse of baseboard that showcased his blackness to full effect. Rae wanted to squash him, but Leah, my tender heart, rebelled. "I want him," she announced. "His name is Tim, and he's MY spider." Even Rae backed off when faced with this vehemence. Tim sat on his piece of baseboard for a while, and then wandered off to do whatever spiders do in recently renovated, hopefully bug-free basements. Leah was upset that he was gone, and responded only grudgingly to the logic that there wasn't a whole lot to do or to eat on the baseboard, and that Tim had probably gone looking for a meal.
The girls pulled out the barbies and set up a game on the basement floor. A few minutes later, I heard an excited cry of "Tim! Mummy, I found Tim!". I went downstairs to see an appreciably larger, grey spider, not at all in the size category that I'm comfortable with, on the floor. Leah was very happy. Me? Not so much. "Can I squish him?" Rachel asked hopefully. And while I secretly thought Rae's idea was aces, Leah's anguished cries quickly made me realize that I had to figure some way out of this mess that didn't involve squishing the new and improved Tim #2.
Leah had captured him with a sheet of paper and a plastic cup, but wanted to let him go to live in the basement. I had to think quickly. I pointed out that now the basement was finished and clean, there were no bugs for Tim to eat, plus, he was hard to see against the carpet and might accidentally get stepped on. If she really liked Tim, the best thing to do was to set him free outside where he could catch bugs to eat.
This did not go down well. There were tears and heartfelt declarations of affection for this new pet. Eventually, logic won out, and Tim was released into the wild out of the sliding glass doors at the back of the house, where he paused a moment and then disappeared down between the deck boards, where I hope he's living a life full of buggy deliciousness. Leah was inconsolable for 10 minutes or so, and then she and Rachel went out the front to ride their bikes on the driveway.
Leah came in all smiles a half hour later. "Guess what? I just saw Tim," she said. "He crossed the driveway while we were out there playing. Can you believe that he came all the way around the house just to see us?"
At least Tim #3 had the sense to stay outside.