Cameron sat in the shade, surrounded in sand toys, untrimmed grass and weeds tickling his elbows. The guy hired by the building manager to do the lawns doesn’t bother with under the trampoline, and I can’t say that I blame him. Cameron’s face was down close to a yellow castle bucket, and he gently fluttered down some grass to whatever was in there.
We had explored the gardens together, counting the bean shoots and measuring the lettuce against our hands – bigger than his, smaller than mine. I’d lifted him high up to see the growing plums and pears, then we dashed to the apple tree to inspect it for signs of apples. There’s a caterpillar tent growing there, which I’ll have to cut out I’m sure. The apples aren’t as far along as the pears and plums, but then they won’t be ready for months after the other fruits are done.
But there? The realm of cool dampness and shade? Where bugs and spiders lurk? No thanks. There, he can explore on his own.
I pride myself in not being very squeamish. Spiders are okay so long as they aren’t on me. I stay out of their houses, they can stay out of mine, thanks. Slugs? Cool! Snails even cooler. Caterpillars, stick bugs, leaf insects, praying mantises, awesome. Toads, snakes, frogs, salamanders, how sweet! But under the trampoline lurk pillbugs (aka wood bugs or roly-polies), those disgusting little creatures with hard shells and far too many legs, that curl up into balls when picked up. Cameron loves to pick them up and collect them in buckets, and it’s all I can do to not throw up at the sight of him scooping up a handful. He has yet to discover them, but earwigs and centipedes live under there too. Okay, millipedes I can handle, the nice friendly wee black things that curl into curlicues when disturbed. Centipedes, yuck. And earwigs give me the willies. BLECK!
The good news is that very few of our local critters will even bite. To the best of my knowledge, unless he happens to have a freak allergy (okay, he already has one, but what are the chances of another?) he’s safe enough as none are poisonous. I’m just trying my hardest to not think about the fact that a large curled up pillbug is roughly the same size as his corn puff cereal. Maybe it’s time to have another chat with him about how we don’t put things up our noses.
It’s good to develop independence, right? Every kid needs a place of their own, right? Kids need to apply the investigative methods that their parents teach them on their own to really learn it, right? That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Under the trampoline can remain one of Cameron’s private spots.