Learning To Live With The Spider In The Jar



Tonight I just lay in bed with him. Normally we read a book, well mostly Cowboy takes him to bed and they read, and add things up and draw 3D shapes.

But tonight I got to do the honors. Instead of continuing Enid Blyton’s The Wishing Chair – he wanted to do some drawing. “You really like drawing don’t you?”

“Like it? I absolutely love it!” he said.

So I sat in bed with him and he showed me different pictures he had already drawn. Mostly monsters, and ghosts oh and a Monster Truck.

Then he had pages where he had written lots of words and ‘ticked’ them off. I remember doing this as a kid too. Playing school.

As he showed me through his book – I really placed myself into the moment.

“This is my boy, showing me who he is” I thought to myself.

I made a conscious decision to not intervene, talk over him – but just to listen.

I noticed how cute his nose was and a couple of freckles on his face. I had never noticed freckles there before.

He drew me a picture of a castle with a bat and a vampire on top.

He  told me it was Science Day at school today, he regretted looking into one of the glass jars because it had a spider in it, and he thought the spider would visit his dreams.

“Even if I try really hard not to think about it – it still won’t go away”

I thought this was a good opportunity to talk about the fact we all have a spider that won’t go away. Sometimes the more we try and make the spider goes away, the bigger and creepier it gets – the more it demands our attention.

I told him something I have only just learnt and wish someone taught me at 5.

“There is no point trying to make the spider go away – just acknowledge it. “Hey Spider” if he wants to hang around , let him hang around.”

I then encouraged him to take some mind-photos of all the happy places and things he knows.

“Where is your favorite place to be?”

He went through – home, Pop and Noon’s, Tumbarumba – I asked him to think of something that made him laugh and he said “When Tansy dances!”

He had fun taking photos of all these memories in his mind.   I told him to keep adding to that file everytime something good happens – to take a mind-pic and add it to the files. It won’t make the spider go away, but it will help you see that although there is a creepy spider it is way outnumbered by awesome stuff!

Yes, I took notes for myself as my inner Swami made a spontaneous appearance.

Most of the time as a parent I feel I’m doing it wrong (aren’t we all) I have no idea if what we talked about tonight stuck – but I really hope it did.

It was more than just a speech, the last week we have been talking about things we are grateful for at dinner. I think this is so important. Stockpiling the joy to keep the spider in the jar at bay.

I’m listening to an audiobook ‘Parenting from the Inside Out” — it has really made me realise how important it is for me to write about these experiences, reflect and make sense of interactions. So, that is why I blogged again today.


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  1. Posted 14 Aug at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    I love those parenting moments. Like you, I feel like I’m doing everything wrong most of the time, but those magic moments are just precious. Sounds to me like you’re doing a pretty awesome job.

    • Sharni
      Posted 15 Aug at 8:30 am | Permalink

      Naw thanks Corinne and hello, so nice to hear from you. I’ve had a peep over at your blog recently to check in how you are doing. Looks like you and your family are enjoying a great adventure. Look forward to reading a bit more. I’ve really slowed down on the blogging reading and writing since Tansy was born but hoping to get back into it.

  2. susan
    Posted 15 Aug at 5:45 am | Permalink

    I’m sooo happy to find a post from you – I’ve missed a few, it seems – your kiddos are growing leaps and bounds! Just added your Pinterest pages and found cool sticks all fancied, perfect inspiration since it’s nearly impossible for me to leave them where they lay … and now I have projects! (plus the other gazillion-in-waiting). Love the bedtime moments with your son, and am reminded how often I use the slide show of happy/momentous moments as a way of turning toward peace and away from the scary hard stuff of life. Write more, say anything!

    • Sharni
      Posted 15 Aug at 8:29 am | Permalink

      Hi Susan! Thanks so much for your comment and for following me on pinterest. How good are the sticks huh! I decided I was going to write a blogpost purely for myself – to make sense of stuff. It is a bonus that you want me to write more. Encouraging!! ha! Thanks :-)

  3. Posted 18 Aug at 10:21 am | Permalink

    I love the mind-pic idea. And I pretty much feel like every day I am ruining my girls. It’s a hard feeling to shake and it only gets worse as they get older.

  4. Posted 23 Aug at 11:56 am | Permalink

    A lovely post Sharni….. might have to use the mind pics here as our little ones get older and starting to get scary thoughts etc. Those conversations re so special and definitely worth bottling xx

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