Friday, September 9, 2011

Nothing's Bugging Her Now


I've been meaning to post for a while about why I like camping so much. Sure, I love the great outdoors but I love even more what it does for my children. Campgrounds afford John freedom to explore on foot as well as with his bicycle. He makes friends quickly in a laid-back environment where he isn't having to face prejudices from kids who have experienced his previous social awkwardnesses. Every campground is a clean slate in which to practice interacting with his peers. Cote's curiosity is absolutely sparked by being outside which encourages her cognitive and motor development. But the focus of today's post is Hannah.

She's been hesitantly interested in the world of bugs and critters for a long time. She would look on in horrified fascination from behind my shoulder at some specimen. I was always sure to offer her a chance to touch the bug or frog but it was usually summarily declined. Occasionally she'd extend a quivering hand, only to chicken-out at the last moment amidst squeals of terror.

There is something to be said for desensitization therapy. Apparently living every weekend in a box in the woods since July has worked some magic. A few weekends ago, the kids found an Assassin Beetle and I heard an excited giggle as she said, "Quick, John, you need to catch it!" I knew her interest was increasing as she kept clamoring for my attention to her discoveries, "Mom, look at this little guy!" and "Hey, I wonder if a frog lives in there."

I hadn't realized the gradual disappearance of screams upon encountering wildlife until she found me in the bathhouse after my shower one morning over Labor Day weekend. I had noticed a tiny salamander on the wall. I pointed out my visitor to Hannah. I was a little sad the bug cullecting jar was nowhere near. It didn't bother her though. "Oh Mom, stand back, I'm gonna capture this little baby friend!" With surprise I watched as my previously squeamish daughter cornered that lizard and scooped him up into her bare hands. She beamed, "John's gonna love this guy!" She ran all the way back to the camper. Two days later she was demonstrating to Cote how roly-poly bugs could crawl up her arm. And our library book choices seem to feature a lot more insects.

That's why I love camping.

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