He is steadfast and he is fearless. The boy who runs screaming from a spider as if it will swallow him whole has no problem picking up a squirming grass shrimp by it's tail and...
... piercing its still wiggling body with a fishing hook. Carefully. Fearlessly. Industriously. He loves this new found hand work. And I can't stand it. I literally have to look away when he's baiting hooks. I hear the shrimp screaming. I feel the slimy writhing between my fingers even from a distance. The heebie-jeebies run laughing from my throat to my toes.
But I have to keep a poker face. I can't let the boy know that this is a completely horrifying and disgusting endeavor. I am really proud of him when I can bear to glance over at his work. And I couldn't ever dream of discouraging hours and hours of my sweet son in his happy place.
Peering lovingly at his new friends. Naming the dead ones things like Buccaneer Bill and Slimy Sam. And identifying the alive ones. Two grass shrimp and a naked goby this afternoon.
But please, please, PLEASE... don't ask mama to touch them. The requests for me to handle his scaly friends come in all shapes and forms. "Hold this guy for me while I get some water." Or, "What do you think this one should be named mama?" as he thrusts it towards my retreating palms. And the worst, "Here mama, this one is for YOU! I love you."
So in an act of pure desperation I have decided to start embroidering. You see, merely reading while my boy fishes is apparently not busy enough in the hands department to avoid getting gifted. So after my triumphs sewing the chrysalis I decided to stitch a few of his drawings. I have no idea what will become of these.
It doesn't matter. As long as it keeps this mama from having to handle scaly, slimy, ooey, gooey, dead or alive critters from the sea... it's all good.