KIERAN HOWARD: Creepy critters make my skin crawl – but Louie loves them

Kids seem to have no fear when it comes to creepy crawlies - but dads do!
Kids seem to have no fear when it comes to creepy crawlies - but dads do!

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Louie nailed his audition for I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.

He completed his own bushtucker trial on a trip to Staunton Country Park, in Leigh Park.

I knew if Louie backed off from the creepy crawlies and refused to acknowledge them, I’d then have to step in and show him how it’s done. To help me prepare for that eventuality, I gave both insect and arthropod pet names.

It was accomplished in record time too, and without any screaming, shouting, crying or hesitation.

I, on the other hand, experienced all four as I nervously inched towards an uncomfortably big millipede and possibly the world’s largest cockroach. No, really.

I’ve not been a massive fan of cockroaches since unwittingly sharing a hotel room with one many years ago.

I don’t remember either of us (me or the roach) getting much sleep that night.

Anyway, as we continued edging towards the creepy crawlie section at Staunton, my head was shouting, ‘I’m a parent, get me out of here’.

My heart, and more so my lovely, thoughtful Kerrie, were reminding me not to show any fear in front of Louie.

‘It’s important he sees there’s nothing to worry about,’ she took great delight in telling me.

Of course, she was right though. And how many times have I said that?

I knew if Louie backed off from the creepy crawlies and refused to acknowledge them, I’d then have to step in and show him how it’s done.

To help me prepare for that eventuality, I gave both insect and arthropod pet names.

It was a simple ploy to make them seem more friendly and approachable.

It’s a tactic I’d urge you try if you’re ever in the same predicament. It really does help.

As we queued, though, I’m almost certain Clive and Margaret spotted me from afar.

They can obviously sense nervousness and weak dads.

They’d been compliant with the many hands thrust in front of them up until that point, but I think they were slowly growing tired of being petted and stroked like cuddly dogs and cats.

We were then next in line to greet them both, and my clammy hands knew it.

To my huge surprise, and even bigger relief, Louie happily stretched out his hand and gently stroked Clive’s back, before doing likewise with Margaret.

It was at that point I knew I was safe.

Thanks to my boy’s bravery, I was able to maintain the pretence that no doubt had ever crossed my mind.

Staunton Country Park may be a place where Louie stubbornly refuses to get within arm’s reach of a cute and fluffy little lamb.

But we now know he’ll happily get up close and personal with multiple-legged, nuclear bomb-proof beings instead.

TAKING A SHINE TO A LAMPPOST

Quick question here. Does anybody else’s child hug lampposts, or is it just ours?

Louie’s taken to lovingly putting his arms around them when we walk the dogs.

There’s one in particular that he’s taken a real shine to.

I don’t know if he thinks it’s a tall member of his family we only see when we go for a stroll. Or maybe he’s mistaking it for a tree.

Either way, I do get some curious looks from fellow walkers on the occasions he does it.

I’ve heard of hugging trees and the medicinal and healing properties of tree hugging.

But, tightly wrapping yourself around street lamps is taking things to a whole new level.

Perhaps he thinks he can transfer light energy from it to allow him to see in the dark.

Or maybe he’s just trying to achieve an electric recharge, so he can keep going through the day without a nap.

I’ve researched this strange phenomenon and it appears he’s not alone.

In 2015, New Yorkers started squeezing a newly-installed ‘intelligent street lamp’.

The special demonstration light was fitted with a large monitor, speaker and microphone.

People could interact with the lamp and ask it questions. Some even embraced it.

I’m thinking Louie would be well at home in New York.