How to Be a Dad

How to Be a Dad

The Bee Whisperer

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The Bee Whisperer My son

Watching our toddler flit from flower to flower like a giddy garden gnome stalking the little flying honey-makers, Lizzie and I have exchanged many a stressed look and repeated, “Why bees? Why did it have to be bees!”

Bees have been a wealth of lessons so far for Lucas (3yo). Lessons about nature, dependence, purpose, life and death, and that he should probably pay attention when we say something like, “It’s gonna hurt if ____.”

He first got stung last year in the backyard. I knew what had happened by way of psychic parent powers or somehow instantly decoding the length and pitch of his yell-crying. I scooped him up and saw the stinger, still stuck in the bottom of his foot. I brushed it off and somehow got the little poison dart stuck and pumping toxin into the center of my palm. Like a boss.

He’s always been fascinated by them. Or at least ever since he saw me, Lizzie or one of his brothers encounter a bee and perform the interpretive dance I like to call Lighting Strikes a Robot. Getting stung himself just fueled the fire somehow. You couldn’t really describe it accurately as a love/hate relationship, it’d be better called an obsessed/teriffied relationship.

More recently, we saw a bee crawling around weakly on the ground. The poor thing was probably drunk out of its mind on cell-phone tower signals like Science is reporting these days, or the thing was a geezer that just didn’t have another Flight of the Bumblebee left in his wings.

    “Wet’s put him owie his misewy.” Lucas suggested brightly, “He not fwying.”

    After I finished laughing, I said, “Where did you hear that!?!” (It turns out it was Lizzie, ha ha!) “No no. Give him a chance. Bees make honey and help make the plants and flowers grow.

    “Bees are good.” said Lucas nodding vigorously, and then added, “But dey sting. Weally bad. … Wet’s put him owie his misewy.”

Okay so maybe he’s just only getting started on the road to understanding these abstract concepts I mentioned.

Since that sting, Lucas is like a little bee-dar. His ears are fantastic; he can hear a pickle farting in another dimension (they do that in some alternate reality or other). His alarm sound “BEE IN DA HOUSE! BEE IN DA HOUSE!” goes off before any of us hears the first Z of a buzzing sound. To be honest any flying bug tends to be identified as a bee, but he’s getting more accurate.

toddler bee sting collage

Yep. He was zapped again last week. By no fault of his own, of course! No way he was responsible in aaaaaany way.

It’s kind of rad though. He IS starting to learn about the interrelationships of nature and growth. About a living thing working to produce something yummy. We’ve even taken advantage of his bee obsession to help support his bedtime, since bees retire to the hive when the sun sets. So bees are starting off a lot of big Life concepts for him. The lessons on Death are a little confusing though, since we’re constantly telling him that bees can sting you after they’ve died. Zombees!

Sorry! Couldn’t resist! (Commence tomato throwing now)


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24 Responses to “The Bee Whisperer”

  1. Steve says:

    This is fascinating! My little guy is turning a year (excuse me, I am required, by international parenting laws, to say “12 months”) old shortly, so I’m paying attention here.

    I grew up with woods all around, and “frontage” grass to mow. More than once I mowed over a yellow jacket nest. After about 10 seconds of WTF just happened delay on the part of the bees, a cloud would start to form on the horizon behind me. Drop the mower, run like HELL! Tell your son about that joy if life.

  2. Jessica Ferg says:

    This reminds me of my little sister, she had quite the fascination with bees. As a toddler she would pick them up and roll them between her fingers. Our mother is allergic so this was an issue. I remember one day reporting to my mother, as big sisters do, that she had captured another be and put it in her mouth. I remember my mother saying to open her mouth, the bee was sitting there on the end of her tongue. Once she stuck out her tongue the bee just flew away. Amazingly this was not the first time she had done that and what I feel was even more amazing is that she was never stung. Never understood her fascination and never got to ask as it passed and she had no idea why.

  3. Monica says:

    First off, I HATE bees or wasps. If it can sting, I HATE it. I really really hope my son does not develop this facination at all. But let me say that Lucas is absolutely adorable and clearly getting bigger all the time. =) Thanks for sharing such a rad story.

    • Andy says:

      Aw thanks! We can’t believe how fast he’s shooting up. πŸ™‚ I too hope your son doesn’t fall in love with lots of legs and biting or stinging capacity.

  4. Laurie says:

    Lucas and I would NOT get along with his love of bugs! Gross! please tell me he does not like Spiders, those were created by the devil. Why does he have to be so damn cute! He kills me every time!

    • Andy says:

      Ha ha! No no, he’s drawn to them, but he’s also scared s##tless of them. It’s the oddest thing to watch him following one along and then, once the thing seems to be turning around or pointed at him, Lucas will spin around and sprint away!

      Yeah, we need to wear sunglasses so he doesn’t blind us with cuteness. πŸ˜‰

  5. Heather B says:

    That was laugh out loud funny. I keep trying to cover up by faking a cough since I’m at work. Lighting Strikes a Robot? So rad.

    • Andy says:

      Yay! I wonder how many people I’ve gotten fired by now. πŸ˜‰ Just remember to tell your bosses that laughter and joy is good for productivity.

  6. Tina Reher says:

    Zombees! *actually real life laughing so hard tears are forming*

    I’m pretty sure there was something else in the post, but that last word just killed me dead. Walking dead!

    • Andy says:

      Ha ha ha ha! I was worried it was tooooo corny, but since it made ME laugh, well I go by that sometimes. Sometimes it doesn’t work out.

      Glad you liked, gladder you laughed. πŸ™‚

  7. MotherDuck says:

    Amazing! I think I know what Lizzie will be getting Lucas for his Halloween costume this year. I have a feeling you will be tricking it out and turning it into a Zombee costume. Do I know you too well?

    • Andy says:

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha! WOW! That would amazing! Yes, you do know us too well. But don’t worry about a restraining order or anything, we’re touched.

  8. sarahlynne says:

    that picture is too cute. I have to say, I am so not into bugs of any kind and keep avoiding them! I’d much rather talk about flowers and dirt! haha!

  9. Pete says:

    Thanks for the great post, those are adorable pictures and great job writing out the quotes I can really hear it in a kids voice.

    • Andy says:

      Awesome! That makes me feel fantastic as a writer. He’s so flippin’ cute, I really want it to translate in my writing. At some point I have to get some video to provide evidence.

  10. Bees are pretty cool. My friend’s family had a bee farm and we would chuck handfuls of them at each other. Tons of stings but good fun at a bee’s expense. To get the honey you have to dope them and so the first time I heard someone say they were going to do some dope I was thoroughly confused. It didn’t take long until it made perfect sense.

    • Andy says:

      Wow, sounds wild! Grabbing fistfuls of bees!?! You have my respect for lack of bee fear AND general mad frolicking. Ha ha to the doping!

  11. Ceri says:

    I HATE Bees, my son of course is terrified of them too even though he has never been stung. I pulled out the stay calm card even when i was stung. on. my. tongue. at the pumpkin patch this last fall. ON MY TONGUE! To not ramp up fears about them. I guess it didn’t work… More than bees though my son has a love hate relationship with spiders. He loves the fake ones, but. Can. not. handle. the real ones. (Everything is a bee or spider to him so I feel your pain) Last week he was outside playing in the back yard and he starts with the blood curdling OMG he is hurt, like really bad call 911 hurt. I went running. He is sobbing and screaming a spider was on me. Now I don’t like spiders either. I hate the little f’ers but I stayed calm and proceeded to remind him that he likes them says they are cool. He goes I DO, but NOT REAL ONES! It was REAL! So hard not to laugh… btw here in the Pacific NW we have had such a mild winter the spiders and bugs are out in droves. As are the wasps. I learned that wasps eat spiders? Who knew??? Maybe I don’t hate a wasp so much anymore…..

    • Andy says:

      Oh wow! I so get this comment from all my experience as a parent. I’ll also say I think one of the finer qualities of good parenting is to know when to laugh, to suppress it when necessary, and to laugh despite everything telling nothing is funny.

      P.S. don’t get too sweet on wasps. Honey bees die when they sting you but wasps don’t. They’re up for multiple rounds. πŸ™

  12. Pam says:

    hehehe…Zombees! Love it!

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