Where’s the Line?

There’s a line somewhere that divides the bubble wrapping parents from the rest of us. Somewhere there’s a line separating the over protective parent from the barely protective. There are parents on both sides of those lines. Some just play jump rope with it.

Where do you draw the line at what you’ll allow your children to attempt? Crash wanted to ride his snowboard down the slide in the backyard this past winter. Giv’er buddy. He wanted to ride his bike down the step of the neighbor’s front porch. I don’t think so, Tim. Bang wanted to jump from bed to bed in our hotel room. Giv’er, buddy. He also wanted to climb onto the shed roof to get a sand shovel he threw up there. Fat chance, kiddo. How do you decide when to tell them no and when to let them try?

Fear is imaginary. It’s not real. It is created in our brain. Don’t confuse it with danger. Danger is very real. Example? Spiders. When you walk into a spider web, what’s your first reaction? I’m guess you flail around like demented windmill? That would be your fear of spiders. Fear of getting bitten by a poisonous one. The danger isn’t there, but the fear is. The chances of the web containing a poisonous spider is very slim, especially if you live here in Canada. Of the spiders that can be harmful to humans, most don’t even build webs that you can walk into. The black widow lives on the ground, as do tarantulas. So you need to ask yourself when your dare devil wants to try something new, “Is my fear greater than their danger?” If it is then you’re probably over reacting by not letting them try.

However, once their danger level is equal to your fear of them getting hurt, perhaps it’s then time to put a stop to it. Climbing a tree is one of Crash’s favorite things to do. Do I fear him falling out of it and getting hurt? Sure. Is it actually dangerous? Not really. It’s a pine tree with hundreds of branches so the most he would fall is 8 inches to the branch below. Is that different than the 8 inches he would fall riding his bike down the front porch steps? Yes, because now there is equipment with which to hurt himself on.

So, when I hear “Dad, video me and put it on youtube!” My answer is always no. He doesn’t need the encouragement to be dangerous. I’m glad he doesn’t have much fear, but he needs a better understanding of danger. Though, I can’t blame him. I was the one who slid down our neighbor’s shed roof on a sled into a snowdrift. My excuse? I was 14.

A Reptile Adventure

Little Rays Reptile Zoo is a rescue Zoo. You can read their blog here. Most of the animals they have are unwanted pets. Pets that people gave up, had illegally, or were rescued. They have an outreach program where they bring the zoo to you, show you the animals and provide some fascinating facts. Not wanting Crash and Bang to miss this opportunity, we opted for the first show at 6:00 because we figured the second show at 7:15 would be too late for Bang who is usually in bed at 7:30 (as is his brother). It was pretty busy and they were excited. As were all the other kids who were up running around and couldn’t keep their voices to a dull roar so we could hear the presentation. The teacher in me was going berserk! Who brought the monkeys to the reptile show?

Anyway, back to the show. We got to see some animals we wouldn’t otherwise get too see. She began the show with this little furry critter…

Chilli the Chilean Tarantula

Chilli the Chilean Tarantula

It was tough to get a good picture of him because she wouldn’t hold still long enough. But you can see here he’s about the size of the palm of your hand. Poisonous? Yes, but not really to humans. She said Chilli’s bite would ruin your day, but it surely wouldn’t kill you. In our household, we like spiders. But this “little” guy takes it to a whole new level. She then brought out a scorpion. I don’t even have a blurry photo of it let alone a good one. Again, it was poisonous, but not enough to kill you. She told us it would have to sting you ten times to equal one bee sting.

Coaster the Tortoise

Coaster the Tortoise

Afterwards, she showed us Coaster, the tortoise (I forget exactly what kind). He’s named Coaster because when he was born, that’s how big he was, the size of a coaster you would use on a coffee table. When he’s full grown he’ll be the size of the coffee table. He’ll live to be about 100 and weigh 250 pounds. Coaster is currently the size of a soccer ball.

IMG_0889

Mooshi – The bearded dragon

Then she moved on to show us the reptiles. First was a bearded dragon name Mooshi (Mushi?). I love bearded dragons and used to own 2 once upon a time – Shadow and Ezmeralda. *Note: fireflies are toxic to bearded dragons. I learned that first hand.* He was a fair size dragon and, of course, made me want to get another. They are extremely friendly, docile pets. Mine would curl up under my blankets to sleep when I would let her. Mostly, she just loved to hang out on my shoulder. They eat crickets and meal worms and tons of fruit and veggies. If crickets and meal worms were easier to come by, we’d have one!

Things wound up a bit more when she brought out a 6 foot albino rat snake.

Albino Rat Snake

Albino Rat Snake

Normally, these things are black. But being albino, he’s not. Obviously. I didn’t catch much of what she said about it as every kid in the place was oohing and awing. She did bring four kids up front to hold him. *Side note: this is where the teacher in me became frustrated. Did she pick kids who respectfully raising their hand from where they sat? No, she picked the ones who were jumping and shouting.*

Cayman

IMG_0921 Cayman

Lastly, she brought out this little fella, a cousin to the alligator and crocodile, a cayman. He’s only about four feet long at the moment, but full grown he’ll be six feet. When first born they are often preyed upon by anacondas of the Amazon. However, those roles are reversed when the cayman is an adult.

Here, the show ended and the kids were allowed to come touch some of the animals. However, Crash and Bang missed out because instead of letting them rush the presenter with all of the other kids, we held them back in hopes of getting to touch and see them with less frenzy. She put the animals back in their travel containers and announced that the next show would start in about 5 minutes. Nearly everyone from that show had cleared out and seeing a smaller crowd coming in we opted to go ahead and stay for the next show as well as Crash and Bang were fairly well behaved. We are glad we stayed.

The second show had a smaller crowed and Crash and Bang got front row seats. We saw the tarantula, the scorpion and the turtle again. However, this time she brought out a new lizard. Instead of the bearded dragon, she had a green iguana named Izzy.

Izzy the Green Iguana

Izzy the Green Iguana

She said he wasn’t as green as usual because he was looking for a mate. His tail is used as a whip and if used properly will send you to the hospital for stitches.

Lastly, she brought out the snake. Only this time it wasn’t the rat snake from the first show. This snake, when born, was only as long as a pencil and as big around as your finger. Full grown he’ll be 300 – 400 pounds and as long as school bus. A reticulated python. I’m guessing this one was about 8 feet long. But he’s only 3 years old – same as Bang.

Bang petting the python

Bang petting the python