I was there, camera in hand, the day that he discovered ants.
He had taken a break from running the length of our yard to inspect an odd brown patch in his path.
I snapped a picture of him pointing at all the activity going on at the mound and then yelled, “Watch out!” just before he pressed a pudgy index finger on top of an unsuspecting ant’s head.
Before our first trip to a pet store, Wyatt announced that he thought we were going to get a lizard. I don’t know where he got that idea, but Zac took one look at my face and quickly set him straight.
For a while, Wyatt’s favorite part of the toy department was a box of reptiles and amphibians that were the correct color and texture as their real-life counterparts.
I would let him pull out a few to play with in the store as long as he understood that they couldn’t come home with us and he would have to clean up the mess himself.
“Girls don’t like this kind of stuff, buddy,” Zac explained to him the first time I announced that I wasn’t going to touch the nasty things.
From the look on his face, I could tell Wyatt didn’t understand how I could not love something as beautiful as a toad.
A couple of Christmases ago, someone gave him a Ziploc bag filled with every fake bug imaginable.
Soon I had trained myself not to scream when I came across plastic spiders in random places while cleaning house.
Now when I step on something that feels suspiciously like an insect, I close my eyes and hope that it’s one of Wyatt’s toys.
We have only discovered one critter on God’s green earth that Wyatt doesn’t like.
At the first sight of one, he notifies the nearest adult and dissolves into a puddle of tears if it is not removed immediately.
This creature that can strike such terror in our son’s heart is the ladybug.
Thankfully, we do not have a ladybug infestation at our house like some others do. However, we have seen more than our fair share this year.
At first, Zac and I didn’t pay them that much attention.
We just picked them off the ceiling or wherever they happened to be and deposited them outside.
I have heard that it’s bad luck to kill a ladybug, although that’s not why I have an aversion to it. Maybe it’s the polka dots.
For whatever reason, I consider ladybugs to be worthy of more mercy than snakes or rats.
Wyatt does not share this sentiment. A single ladybug crawling up a lampshade is disturbing enough, but two together will give him a toddler-sized panic attack.
We have assured him that a ladybug can’t hurt him, but he thinks that their mere presence is hazardous to our health.
“They get in all our stuff,” he insisted when I pressed him once on why he dislikes ladybugs so much.
I continued to brush off his concerns until one day when he reached for his drink. “Uh oh!” he cried loudly enough that I knew we were dealing with more than an empty glass.
I discovered a speck floating on top of his leftover juice. Not just any speck — a rogue ladybug.
Of course, this confirmed Wyatt’s distrust, and I no longer put up a fight when he runs through the house to announce that another one has breached the security of our home.
I just silently walk over to the tiny orange interloper and show it the door.