Ever since I have lived in my own home I have had The 3 Spider Rule. For the life of me I can’t recall how or when it started, only that it is abided by like some annual religious event that all my family and friends are aware of. I try to be tolerant of all living things, even bees which I am allergic too because I know the garden needs them, but spiders just make my skin crawl!
What exactly is this three spider rule you’re probably wondering? Well here in South Australia it is currently spring, the weather is warming up, everyone is cutting back the winter growth from their gardens and the creepy crawlies are coming out of hiding. When I see three spiders in short succession (say within one week) it’s time for Mr P to pull out the spray gun. Yep chemicals, I guess I’m like one of those people who eat a macrobiotic diet but inject their face with botulism (Botox). I like to organically grow my own vegies, I recycle everything I can, I have a compost pile, I treat garden pests with homemade remedies like garlic and chilli water and I spray chemicals around all my windows and doors in spider season.
Not all spiders meet the three spider rule. They have to be of a certain size, I can give you an exact measurement but it’s fair to say the fatter and hairier they are the less lucky they are, Daddy long legs can reach quite epic proportions around here, for some reason they don’t bother me (maybe the fact that they can’t bite?) little ones don’t count, but they will cop a white coat of insect killer. Black house spiders, white tails and the dreaded hairy huntsman all send me screaming for another room and someone to kill the ‘big monster’.
This fella would not meet my 3 spider criteria – if you don’t know the famous story of David Thorne trying to pay an account with a drawing of a 7 legged spider you can read it here.
Recently I realised that my spider paranoia was rubbing off on 2 year old H, not sure if it was the ear piercing screams every time she saw an ant or tiny bit of black fluff or the midnight calls of ‘piders getting me, want sleep Mummy bed’ that was the wakeup call, either way I realised I had to curb by emotions. Miss E (almost 12) and I lived alone for many years, she is not afraid of anything. I bred her tough, I think I’ve become too reliant on having a man around to do all those man jobs – you know, empty the rubbish bin, lift heavy things, kill spiders . . . .
I started to teach H that she didn’t need to be scared of spiders, I told her spiders were super scared of (looks around bedroom in a blind panic looking for something and spots) fairies. Yep that’s it, fairies. See those 4 fairies hanging from your shelf baby? They will protect you, spiders won’t come in your room (please god don’t let her spot a spider in her room before we have a chance to kill it) because they are terrified of fairies. I also told her that she doesn’t have to be afraid because she is much bigger than the spiders and she could kill them by giving them a big WHACK with a shoe.
It is an unwritten rule in this house that my shoes are NOT to be used for spider whacking and all guts, legs and parts must be thoroughly cleaned up from any whacking incidents.
It took a little encouragement to get her into spider whacking mode; we started off small by killing every bit of black fluff that erupted from the family room carpet. Within a few days her confidence had grown so we moved outside to tackle teeny tiny sugar ants. This is when she learned that Mummy’s shoes are ‘no good’ for killing spiders, Daddy’s are much better (insert evil genius laugh). We had just graduated to bull ants and earwigs when a great big hairy (at least 5cm) spider crossed my path and I yelled for E to come and save me. She raced into the laundry like a knight in shining armour and gave the thing a giant WHACK! It was clearly dead. She stepped away to fetch some spray and wipe and paper towel to clean the mess with and before I could say anything my second saviour jumped in and pulverised same spider into the floor with no less than 9 extremely enthusiastic whacks. She lifted her tiny blonde head up with the biggest beaming grin and announced ‘I did it Mummy, pider all gone now, you kay now’.
My tiny hero saved me!
By the way Mr P . . . the count is two in three days, better get that spray gun ready!