Finding a cockroach in your pants is a terrible feeling. How do I know? One day, somewhere in the twelfth year of my life, I attempted to put on a pair of floral, spandex biking shorts (nothing else seemed to match my Hanson t-shirt just right). The screaming started precisely the same moment the "wiggly" feeling moved from my right butt cheek, down my thigh.Tiny cockroach feet dancing on my rump, forced me to strip down, waive my shorts around and horrify the rest of my family. Don't ask me how it got there. All I know is that's the precise moment I began to hate nature. Naaatuuuree...the sound of it makes me cringe. Turns out, hate something enough and it can be inserted into your genetic code and passed on to your children.
A couple days ago found our little family on an expedition to the park. Butch and Sundance can walk now, so Husband and I made the connection that, as they love walking on laminate (a by-product of nature somewhere along the line), they'd love grass. The day was beautiful, low wind, sunshine, excellent baby walking conditions.
Finding an open area, we released our little hounds. My daughter, channeling Maria Von Trapp with a fierceness, shot through the grass as fast as her fat legs would carry her, hot on the trail of a mountain to scale and belt show tunes off of. There was music in those hills and she was going to find it.
"He gets it from you, you know."
I looked down. "Oh, honey."
My son, trembling, lip stuck out, was looking up at me for guidance. Eyes wide and full of tears, he conveyed a unique type of horror I recognized from years logged despising everything that lived outside (that, and the first time I saw my five-year-old sister watch Poltergiest). I bent down. "See, it's just grass." I held up a blade for him to touch. He backed away and started crying. Damn. I looked back at Husband. "He just needs time to get used to it. It's scary."
"It's not scary. Grass isn't scary. Look at her." He motioned towards our daughter, careening over hills and ingesting dandelions. "She's fine."
I narrowed my eyes. "Nature's terrifying, and I can't blame him. He's just cautious like his Mamma. You have no idea what's waiting out there to eat you. They call it Wild Kingdom, for crying out loud."
"Umm..nothing's out there, Jack Hanna."
"Whatever, we'll work on it. Make sure Pocahontas isn't building some sort of hut under that hill, and I'll work with our son."
And so we worked on it. Taking his fat hands in mine, I walked him through the green "sea" of nightmares and tried not to let him see the looks of periodic disgust dance across my face when I noticed something crawling in the dirt. Twenty minutes of "therapy" and he'd taken a good two steps by himself. Progress, as far as I was concerned.
We'll keep working on it. As much as the outdoors gets to me, I don't want my children hating it too. But, in case it is genetic...we'll stay inside together, leering at grass and throwing things at squirrels.
Until Next Time Readers!