When Charlotte was about 15 months old, we started sending her to a home daycare run by a wonderful lady named Kathy. There, she met a little girl the same age as her named Vera. Charlotte and Vera were instant friends. In fact, ‘Vera’ was among the first dozen or so words that she could say. When Kathy fell ill last year and had to close her daycare, it was made all the more difficult because Charlotte and Vera were no longer seeing each other every day. When Charlotte started kindergarten, we were ecstatic to find out that she and Vera would be in the same class. The yearlong separation was over.
About a week ago, shortly after the start of the school year, we noticed a spider living outside our side door. Through the window, we could see its intricate web. Charlotte took to looking for the spider every time she passed by. “Mommy, look, there’s our spider! What’s she doing?” Apparently, the spider was a girl, so I asked Charlotte if the spider had a name. She thought for a minute, and then declared, “Her name is Vera.”
I’m sure Charlotte meant this as an homage to her friend, though I’m not sure how Vera would feel about a creepy little spider being named after her. One day, she saw the spider eat a fly that was caught in its web. “She ate a fly! Vera the spider ate a fly!”
Now, I am not a fan of spiders. I do not gently trap ones I come across in the house and set them free outside. If I see it, you can rest assured that it will end up dead. I try not to impose this dislike on Charlotte, though. If she tells me worriedly, “Mommy, I think there’s a spider in my room,” I will respond breezily, “Oh, don’t worry about a little spider! It can’t hurt you!” And then of course, in secret, I go and check her room for spiders, and get rid of any that I find.
Vera the Spider has been allowed to survive mainly because she lives outside. But on Monday, I came face to face (is face the right word? Do spiders have faces?) with her when I was taking out the garbage. She has clearly been catching and eating a lot of flies, because she is BIG. And if my sweet little four year old daughter hadn’t named her, she would have been history at that moment. I have been hoping that she will just disappear- we have had a few rainy, windy days that I thought might mean the end of Vera the Spider’s reign of our side door, but no such luck. If she gets much bigger, though, or makes her way inside, a relocation will be in order. I hope we can find another house in our price range in this neighbourhood.