Monday, August 20, 2012

To Bee or Not To Bee

As I type this, TheODDDad is outside lopping the heads of my sedum plants, just as they're starting to bloom.




As the beautiful flowers fall to the ground, bees and butterflies all around the neighbourhood are crying out in distress. OK, that might be a slight exaggeration since I don't know if bees and butterflies actually have feelings, but you get my point.

Every year my sedum plants are abuzz (sorry for the pun, but I had to) with activity, and every year I pat myself on the back for supplying a safe haven for our winged friends. The fact that I don't have to do anything to the plants except, well, not dig them up, doesn't dampen my sense of pride.

This beauty was hanging out on my sedums last fall.

Then his buddies joined him...and therein lies the problem.

Then came this year.

This year I went to TheODDDad and instructed him to behead my precious flowers, the very ones I look forward to seeing every year. I're asking why I would do such a crazy thing. I'm glad you asked.

Bear has always been slightly afraid of bees and other bugs that sting, but no more than the average bear. (Sorry...It must be the Kahlua I put in my coffee this morning...kidding!!!) For whatever reason, that slight fear morphed into a major problem this spring, although we have no idea why. At one point it was so bad that Bear wouldn't leave the house unless someone walked out first to check for offending bugs. If we were going somewhere in the van, he would wait inside the house while I went out and opened his door, at which point he would dash out and jump into the van.

"CLOSE THE DOOR!!!!" he'd shriek if there was the slightest pause between him jumping in and the door closing behind him.

Sometimes playing outside with his friends provided enough of a distraction to allow him to forget his fear for a few minutes, but other times he'd end up running into the house sobbing because he had seen a shadow that may or may not have belonged to a bee. The worst was when he would want to come in the house but spotted a bee (or wasp...or hornet...or other stinging/non-stinging bug that may or may not have been a stinging bug...) near the door. He'd run into the middle of the street (quiet street, thank goodness) where he'd stand, calling my name in panic. If I didn't respond, I'd find him still standing there a few minutes later, sobbing and shaking, still calling me in desperation.

"Why didn't you come when I called you?" he'd demand accusingly through his sobs. "You were ignoring me!!!!" My explanation that I hadn't heard him or had been busy with Stitch never seemed to be good enough. All he knew was that I hadn't come when he needed me. It was heartbreaking.

We did everything we could this summer to help him conquer his phobia, even resorting to a couple of sessions of hypnotherapy to see if that would work. Unfortunately, Bear was a less-than-cooperative hypnosis subject, so it didn't seem to help much. The therapist had to try to go in through the back door of Bear's subconscious, but I think it was shut as tight as the front door. Guess this shouldn't be too surprising for a kid with ODD.

Back to the sedums. We didn't plant any flowers this year so as not to make life any more difficult for Bear than it already is, but there was still the matter of the sedums. Sedums are a perennial that flower in the early fall, and the flowers last right through until October. The fact that they're just steps from both the front door and the side door means they have the potential to cause real they must go.

I hated to have to do it because I really love watching the butterflies and the bees, but in this house it's Bears before bees.

Maybe we'll be able to welcome them back next year.


  1. Really great writing, Laura... I was reminded of Yogi Bear, "smarter than the average bear."

    We've been through the fear of bees, so many similarities! He seems to have gotten over it. Atleast he's not afraid of being afraid of bees. He'll go outside without looking for them.

    Good idea to get rid of the sedums, eh, Boo Boo?

    1. Boo Boo I hope he grows out of it, Allison. It kind of came out of nowhere, so I'm hoping it will go back to where it came from!

  2. My Little Man hace developed a fear of the hallway in our home. Since there is no way for me to remove the hallway from the house - nor is there any way to get to his room or the bathroom without walking down the hallway we have been in quite a pickle. For now he requires me (or his father) to go as armed guard with him when he must venture into the hall. It's very inconvenient and I'm hoping that the fear departs as suddenly as it arrived.

  3. Maybe some bee education would help? All I could think of reading this was, people are afraid of things they don't understand. The BEE Movie might be a good place to start. :)

    1. Unfortunately phobias don't work that way, Brenda. There's nothing rational about them, so they often require specialized intervention. My son can tell you exactly what bees do and why, and The Bee Movie is one of his favourite movies, but it makes no difference to how he feels about them.