Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice?


For the most part my little girl is all things you might expect from a 4 year-old girl. She’s cute (sugar), bubbly, angelic-looking (all things nice?) and the part I like most – she’s incredibly strong-willed, what some might call stubborn (I’m guessing that’s the spice!). I prefer to think she knows her own mind just like her mammy.
However, what has really surprised me, is her love of animals. I mean ALL animals. Yeah, of course she likes kittens and puppies, and generally the fluffier the better, but this extends much further.

I’ve watched her gaze lovingly and fearlessly straight into the eyes of an Irish wolfhound. Our cats receive what must seem like never-ending hugs until they wriggle and squirm themselves free and leg it out the cat flap. I’m sure the chickens would get hugs too if they weren’t so hard to catch. She ensures Lucy, our Jack Russell receives 6 squares meals a day and the odd scrap from her own dinner plate. She prides herself on having trained Lucy how to play fetch. The poor dog had no choice in the matter, as I think I mentioned before, little Miss can be quite persistent.

On a visit to Reptile Village in Co. Kilkenny, she was captivated by tarantulas, snakes and snapping turtles. She was enthralled when invited to stroke the back of a massive Tegu lizard while I looked on from a few feet away. Even the python observed enjoying his mouse-supper did not curb her enthusiasm.

After a good plod around the back garden she’ll come trotting in, to introduce us to her newest pet. Recently we have entertained a tiny spider, a daddy-longy-legs, a moth and a ladybird. And last week, she brought in three little worms in a bowl, ‘a family’ if you will. Euch! Now, I’m not one for creepy crawlies, but I decided that as she is displaying all good stuff in terms of healthy psychological development – caring, nurture, empathy etc., that I will go along with this and let her bring her new pets into, and only as far as the kitchen. I’ve quietened my desire to shout ‘Get that disgusting thing out of my kitchen!’ I really don’t want to pass on my loathing of slimy, creepy things, which is frankly very silly of me, when it’s clear she has a genuine fascination with the wee feckers. OK I’ll be honest, the worms had to go. I can’t stand worms.

She aims to please her little pets  and creates the most intricate little habitats with all of life’s essentials (if you’re a spider). Each creature receives their own cardboard box, a bed of leaves and grass (fair enough) a bowl of water and possibly some chopped carrots. As the weeks have passed, these little homes are becoming increasingly more elaborate and luxurious. Now they have added extras such as a bouncy ball to play with, a tiny teddy bear to cuddle and a crayon if Mr Spider is feeling creative, but what gives this accommodation the extra star is the swimming pool of course.

A spider’s paradise right?
Wrong. This all sounds like great fun, but unfortunately as you and I know, tiny spiders and ladybirds aren’t terribly resilient little creatures. We know their little legs are not made for being chased, caught, put to bed, let out to play, being plonked into the swimming pool for a nice little swim,
‘You deaded him Eva. Mummy! Eva deaded him!’
‘I didn’t dead him. He’s just having a little sleep.’
(After careful inspection, I conclude he is definitely dead).

Her final act of kindness is to hide the sleeping spider in the grass… so the chickens won’t eat him!

As tomorrow is mid-term break, I will take it upon myself to personally lead a lesson on how to handle creatures carefully, so they can avoid being ‘deaded’.

We regret that unfortunately several very small animals were harmed in the making of this blog post.

Image courtesy of Akara Kingdoms/

Categories: Kids' Stuff, Uncategorized

Tags: , ,

12 replies

  1. You are lucky she still hasn’t tried to have a wild rat for a pet… I once did… In fairness, I thought they were squirrels. My poor mother!

    On another occasion I rescued (captured) a snail in Morocco and brought him hidden in my clothed all the way to Spain. He lived in a pot in our office until his death. I am sure border control wouldn’t be too impressed!

    Enjoy the critters! Children who love growing animals are so compassionate and caring!

    • Aw that is very cute.
      Well she really wants a lizard and just won’t let it go. She has toy lizard that lives in a box with the all the essential items.
      She is very caring little girl – If i’m ever unwell she’ll fetch me a blanket, give me hugs and kisses.
      I heard a story about a little boy returning from a day at the zoo. He went missing at the zoo and was eventually found in the penguin enclosure. His parents were worried as he was very quiet on the journey home and went straight to his room. They went to check on him and found he had a new little friend – a baby penguin he had smuggled from the zoo under his jumper!

  2. What a great post! I love that you are willing to overcome your creepiness of all things crawly for the sake of your daughter! My crew are the exact same but I have taken to insisting they remain outside (house and all) and all critters be returned to their original homes at the end of the day ;0) I remember spending hours playing with “daddy long legs” when I was a little girl ;0)

  3. Good things to come with that sweet girl. It will be interesting to see if her love for animals sticks with her as she grows up.

    I have a very strong willed one too! I agree its a good thing for sure; however, it makes it very difficult to parent her 🙂

  4. My youngest was dreadful for critters. She especially loved caterpillars. I remember one year on holidays in Allihies there were masses of them. We went for a long hill walk and she gathered so many on our final let to the car. However once in the car she dropped them and we are still missing one despite an extensive search. That was about six years ago! It is a charming thing to watch though. Even when they dead them.

  5. Ha. Great post. Sounds like she has all the right instincts! And good for her for not being afraid of spiders. I always aspired not to be afraid of them, but could never quite bring myself to be the one to fish them out of the bathtub when they got caught… The lesson on how to care for them sounds just perfect.

  6. You’re such a great mama! It isn’t easy to be aware that our fears may not have actual survival value and therefore might not need to be passed on to our children. I do like the end-of-the-day return policy mentioned above — gives the critters a fighting chance and eliminates overnight escape anxiety.

  7. Lol! Thanks Jennifer. I try, I really try!
    The new, desired return policy has been passed on. Whether it will be fully implemented or not, we shall see. Adverse weather conditions have hampered recent exploration projects. 😉

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