Special Guest Post by Mr. One

I understand that it's a little odd to actually like most spiders and insects.  It's a personal trait that One reminds me is strange every time one of the wee beasties drops into our living space for a visit.  She screams and reaches for the nearest newspaper to roll up while I dash to rescue the critter from her wrath and to scoop it up so the little ones can hold and admire it before we set it free to live with its outdoor friends.

I can't help my feelings.  I truly find the little monsters fascinating.  Maybe reading "Charlotte's Web" in the 2nd grade was a turning point.  Or perhaps Sesame Street's "Ladybug's Picnic" just had a deeper effect on me than most.  I'm sure it helped that when I lived on the edge of an insect-infected nature preserve on my mission, my trainer explained to me that we had reason to be grateful for the enormous Huntsman spiders that frequented our kitchen--they ate the really dangerous bugs.  (Getting bitten by a particularly venomous Green-head ant--my finger was swollen for a week!--led me to make extra sure Hunstman spiders were made especially welcome in our abode.)

Whatever the reasons, my fondness for the arachnid and insect world has grown over time.  And now that I have little ones of my own, I want to pass on that warm and fuzzy feeling, rather than perpetuating the irrational fear of them that seems to be second-nature to so many.  I want my kids to grow up thinking of spiders and insect as just another variety of cute, amazing little gifts from a loving God for us to admire and enjoy.  Perhaps not even so different from puppies or ponies!

Of course, since insects and spiders are more foreign, I recommend starting by introducing some of God's furrier little monsters, first:

Admiration for these little critters comes pretty much ingrained!

Following up puppies with guinea pigs and chickens is hardly a stretch--they, too, have a pretty high natural cuteness quotient.

Goats are a bit of a transition.  While furry like puppies, their size, horns and scary eyes led Tiny to need a little convincing that they, too, could be lovable critters.

Ponies, too, were initially a little frightening due to their size.  But it wasn't long before Princess H realized that they, too, are delightful!

Befriending your local, friendly neighborhood monster can serve as a great transition for introducing more foreign creatures.  It's a little-known fact that monsters happen to be genetically related to both mammals AND insects.  :)

Feeding the kiddies this homemade treat from our very own beehives (now kept on our roof), went a long way in softening their feelings toward the little bee babies!

So far, in fact, that I think we may have developed some budding young beekeepers!
Yes, that's an actual little bee Princess H is holding, while decked out in her daddy's beekeeping hat.  But lest you think this parental abuse, don't fear--she's actually holding a stingerless drone.  You would have thought it was an actual puppy for all the Princess' cooing and fawning over it!

Princess H's best new buddy!

Getting the kids to feel warm and fuzzy toward a tarantula was the greatest feat.  But, after meeting "Rosie," the Princess actually got in line a second time to let it crawl over her hand again!  Now she wants one as a pet.  Don't know if that one is going to fly with One any time soon.

So, I've made great progress ensuring my kids don't have a kneejerk anti-inspect/spider reflex.  But despite my best efforts, there are some creatures I just haven't been able to paint as endearing:

A trip to the local snake and reptile exhibit did not have the intended effect!  We've still got a ways to go in the squamata department...