A spider has trapped my 9-year-old daughter in her room. What it hopes to gain by holding her hostage I have no idea. It hasn’t issued any demands or sent a ransom note, so I’m not clear about its motivation. It might have been sent by the Spider Gods to torture my child for some misdeed in her past, although I can’t imagine what she’s done to the creepy crawlies of the world that would earn her this reward. We go outside after it rains in order to rescue worms. She watches ants for hours, naming them, offering crumbs of her food, encouraging them in their hard work. And when we go camping, she explores under rocks and leaves with me, looking for new critters.
I’m also wondering how this particular spider managed to gain so much power over her. As far as I can tell, it has no arsenal, no visible weaponry. I would consider a telepathic sort of control, but I don’t believe a spider’s brain can link up with a pre-pubescent girl’s brain. I don’t think any living creature can do that. I certainly haven’t managed to do it, and I used to be a pre-pubescent girl, or so my family tells me.
It must be the beets. We’re having beets with dinner and I was stupid enough to mention that unpopular fact when calling everyone to the table. And, suddenly, a child who never exhibited any sign of Arachnophobia has become horrified at the pale yellow, 2 cm long spider on the wall across from her room. In order to get her to dinner, I could remove the spider, smash it or usher it outside. Or I could capture it and put it next to her plate, which is the direction I’m leaning. I could dip it in chocolate and serve it as dessert or I could make it a pet and give it a name and a box to sleep in. Or, I could tell her to get over it and come eat before I serve up the greens that grow on top of the beets. Maybe I’ll add some grub worms for protein.