Between last year and this year, there has been a change in my daughter when it comes to bugs. The girl who happily covered herself in cicadas last summer can’t stand the sight, sound or feel of any insect. Spiders, ants, beetles and mosquitoes cause her to run in the house. Bees and wasps cause her to run in the house while issuing a siren-like scream.
Due to this panic, my daughter has decided that all bugs are assumed to be bees regardless of their appearance. If it flies, it’s a bee.
So that leaves me with a problem. We just bought Gracie a brand new bike, new helmet, knee pads, elbow pads and gloves because she had been complaining that her other bike and accessories were too small. On the beautiful spring day that we planned to go out bike riding by the river, I loaded Gracie and Jack’s bikes, my bike, all bike-related accessories and a picnic lunch into the car. Off we went to the Stones River. We parked and I pulled out three bikes and all the accessories. I slathered sunscreen on all of us and showed Gracie that I did, indeed have the can of wasp spray attached to my belt. Then I strapped knee pads and elbow pads on each child, gave them each a pair of gloves and then fastened their helmets on their precious little heads.
We discussed which direction we were going to go and were no sooner on the bikes when I heard the bee-alarm siren going off. Gracie was screaming. It may have been a wasp that flew by but then again it may have been a fly, a butterfly or even just some pollen but I knew, based on the intensity of the human siren, our outing was over. No amount of verbal reasoning was going to work. My daughter was not buying the “if you leave the bees alone, they’ll leave you alone” philosophy that my mother had used on me.
Helmets, knee pads, elbow pads and gloves were unstrapped with lightning speed. Gracie dove back into the car while I hoisted the bikes back in their positions and then repacked all the accessories. Jack stood in the parking lot next to the car. He was also crying but when I asked him why, he said he wasn’t sure whether he was crying because Gracie had seen a bee or because we weren’t going to go bike riding.
I am standing at my back door looking out at my yard. There are bikes leaning up against the house, a beautiful pool waiting for the sun to warm the water, two swings on a swing-set gently swaying with breeze, and a wasp sunning himself on my deck. He should have quite a good time ahead of him if he enjoys bike riding and swinging because he and his friends will have the backyard all to themselves this spring. My kids are in the house playing a board game. I think the only way I’ll get Gracie outdoors this spring is on a rainy day.