Oliver and the Tarantula

“There’s a tarantula under my bed,” said Oliver.
“Buddy, we don’t have any tarantulas here. It’s too cold for them.”
“No it’s not,” he said. “They’re on the stairs, too.”

Oliver and I had been having this conversation for a long time. He insists every spider that he sees is a tarantula. I don’t know where he first heard about tarantulas – school maybe? – but he considers himself an expert and will hear no evidence that contradicts his vast knowledge of arachnids.

It’s kind of amazing how much this tarantula thing has captured his imagination. Why tarantulas? Nobody knows.

“Oliver, what’s this tray doing here?”
“That’s for fighting the tarantula that lives under my bed.”

He had literally stocked his bed with weaponry. I imagined him huddled up on the bed, afraid to let his toes dangle, ready to smoosh any tarantula that dared to show so much as a leg. It was kind of funny in that “all kids go through something like this” way, but I was also starting to worry that perhaps he was dwelling on tarantulas a little too much. I didn’t really want him afraid to spend time in his bedroom.

“Mama, come quick!” shouted Oliver one day during his relaxing time. “The tarantula is on the floor!” Sara came sauntering into the room. “Oh!” she said, encountering an ENORMOUS SPIDER. “Oh.”

Now, it wasn’t mythical proportions or anything, but it was just under. Somewhere between the size of a quarter and a half-dollar. We’re not talking about a little Daddy Longlegs here. It was probably about as close to a tarantula as you are likely to see in Chicago.

Sara grabbed a book and smashed it. “I already did that!” shouted Oliver, but he had apparently only stunned the beast. Later he told me, “I could see it under my bed, so I kept blowing on it to make it move until it came out.” Sara went to get some toilet paper to dispose of it, but Oliver just picked it up by the legs and disposed of it.

So there WAS a tarantula under his bed (kind of)! And he wasn’t frighted of it, merely being practical. Remind me never to doubt him about something like this again.

Except now he says there’s another one under his bed.

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