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“I Just Like Really Small Bugs Like Ants”
Bees also pretty cute
Kina did not always like ants. In her young toddler years, she would screech to a halt on the playground at the very sight of an ant and demand that we lift her over it. In our edition from May 17th of this year, we covered her early efforts to categorize bugs, not realizing that she’d eventually rule in favor of some of them, let alone ants—clearly among her least favorite bugs of May 17th.
We have talked about the bees before. The other day, in fact, when the air was still chilly, she and I went to our local coffee shop for her regular “cheddar cheese and bacon” and sat by our favorite lavender plant. Kina asked about our bee friends Becky and Joe, who were nowhere to be seen. I told her that bees don’t like the cold, and she nodded knowingly, even as she scoured the skies for new apian companions.
I don’t know if she likes small bugs because they’re less threatening or more lovable, but I can tell you with absolute certainty that she hates a roach, like a proper New Yorker.
Kid Oblivious to Injustice
This is another one of those headlines that’s here to help me remember this day. It’s a hard truth to face—the idea that the justice system, sworn to protect our citizens, would deem it largely acceptable for three law enforcement officers to shoot into an innocent person’s home and let her die. I work in a news organization—no amount of personal privilege allows me to ignore this, and nothing should. But there are Black folks on my staff who had to come to work today and build the software that distributes this news. It’s traumatic for them, and for me by proxy, and I struggle to see any light at the other side of this at the moment. This world is not a particularly good one right now! So what is my obligation to Kina? I sweep my worries under the rug when I’m with her (and, frankly, being around her is comforting to me), in part to ensure she has the longest possible uninterrupted beautiful childhood that we can offer her. Am I sheltering her? Absolutely. At what point will she learn about this, and how am I supposed to teach her? What am I supposed to say?
I attended a presentation today by Britton Williams, a psychologist who specializes in trauma-informed care and came to talk to the team about secondary and vicarious traumas—the very real psychological harm that emerges from observing the trauma of others (a particularly relevant scenario at my work). In that presentation, she talked about an experiment with a group of young rats, who were allowed to play freely and curiously for three days. On the fourth day, they introduced a single cat hair into the play space, and the play came to an abrupt halt—even though these rats had never seen a cat. The worst part? Even after the hair was removed a day later, these baby rats never played together in the same way. “It makes me sad for the rats,” she said. How could it not? Innocence is so fragile, and rat or not, it’s terrifying to contemplate the idea that innocence can be so irreparably shattered.
I am fully aware that I cannot shelter Kina forever, and that despite all our collective traumas, we muddle through. I just don’t want her to feel the way I feel when I look out the window these days, and I intend to do everything I can to fix what’s outside the window, so she won’t have to.