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Friday, February 1, 2013

One person's snake is someone else's sock puppet.


I sometimes wonder if the unsavory things we parents inflict on our kids is what spawns irrational phobias. When I was about five years old I had an illogical fear about taking a bath. My mother would casually mention that it was nearly tub time and I would be consumed with terror, wailing and running away to hide in a cupboard. 

I eventually got over it but I put it down to an earlier incident when my sister and I were in the bath. 

Wayward child that I was, I left the tap running to create a swimming pool effect allowing the run-off to slosh all over the floor. There was so much water it leaked through the floorboards onto my mother hanging the washing out on the floor below. 

She rushed upstairs and screamed blue murder alerting my father. Now Dad is a gentle soul but on this day he lost it and smacked me (lightly) on the face, as that was the only discernable flesh above the tide line. 

I reckon that’s what put me off the bath thing.

My hubby Scotto, is afraid of balloons. I didn’t believe him when he told me but he seriously won’t blow them up or go anywhere near them. The mind boggles as to what that stems from.

Frogs, bugs, thunder, snakes, dogs… pish! They don’t worry me at all. 

Show me a spider though and I’d leave Usain Bolt standing at the starting line whilst I pushed several old ladies to the ground on the way through.

When I was first married to my ex-husband we stayed at an old house at the beach. One day as I stepped into the shower recess, and pulled the shower curtain across, I spied an enormous hairy huntsman perched on the inside of the curtain, its defiant bulgy eyes staring into mine. 
I didn’t dare flutter an eyelash. 

“Come and kill this f$%king spider!” I shrieked to my then husband. 

He sauntered in and perceiving the silhouette of the belligerent bastard through the back of the curtain slapped it hard with his hand. 

And what do imagine happened? 

Like a hirsute missile the huntsman propelled forward directly onto my shoulder. 

We had to buy a new shower curtain with all the wild, stark-naked flagellation that ensued and I didn’t get my voice back for three days from all the screaming.

I might add that not all the screaming was directed at the spider.

Lulu had an intense fear of giant rabbits. Whenever they’d appear on the telly in Kmart ads or whatever she would squeal and hide her face in a cushion. I attributed this irrational fear to an oversight by her pre-school teachers. 

One Easter, whilst all the midgets were out playing on the swings at lunchtime, their kindly teachers painted gigantic rabbit footprints all over the classroom floor. 

On the kiddies return there was purported chaos with terrified infants clinging to the legs of the teachers, high-pitched screeching and petrified four year olds feverishly pointing at the ominous and malevolent tracks.

Now I may be guilty of inflicting a phobia on my own kids. 

All mothers know about the ‘witching hour’ between six o’clock and seven, just before bedtime. When Thaddeus, Jonah and Hagar were all between seven and five, they utilized this time to torment, brutalise and obliterate anything in sight. 

I would be trying to cook dinner and keep an eye on Padraic and the newborn Lulu. Meanwhile the feral trio would be recreating one of the pig killing scenes in “Lord of the Flies”. 

There was only one threat that worked every time.

“Do you want me to lock you outside so the bitey bats with sharp teeth and pointy claws can get you?” I would intimidate in a witch-like voice.

We had a lot of mango trees around our house complimented with an extensive colony of loud and evil-sounding flying foxes that conveniently and regularly descended at dusk. 

I only ever actually locked them out a few times and only for a couple of minutes as the threat was usually sufficient. 

By the third time I locked Thaddeus out he had figured out that the ‘bitey bats’ weren’t anywhere in his vicinity and took himself off to visit the neighbour’s house for dessert. 

But... Hagar at nineteen, still won't go outside in the dark if there are "bitey" bats about.

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