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WARNING--GROSS STORY AHEAD--great life lesson or horrible parenting move-you decide

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
So today I took all the kids on a long walk and we encountered a preying mantis. We love learning about those and playing with them gently so my middle child asked if he could pick it up and I said "ok" but be careful because it looked odd, like maybe someone had stepped on it.

Owen touched the mantis and then we noticed that it was "pooping" so we gave it some space thinking it was hurt or that we were stressing it out. Yeah no, a parasite was emerging just then, so we watched a huge thin black snake??? at the time we had no idea what was happening come out of the back of the mantis and then seemed to strike at us even though we where pretty far away.

So we were all pretty careful and a little scared as the only native speaker we found told us that was it was "was something that will bite".

On to my quandary: I can't help but want to say "that is the reason I keep harping on you to wash your hands". My kids are terrible hand washers for a variety of reasons, but I still have to supervise my seven year old when she washes to make sure she does it.

We live in a tropical climate, it is not out of the realm of possible to think they will get a parasite and it doesn't help that the whole hand washing thing is not done well.

Should I jump on this learning opportunity, or should I save them from the nightmares that I know I will be having???
post #2 of 21
I'm not exactly sure what your question is- forgive me, I just woke up and was up half the night with a very teethy nursy toddler. But just wanted to say

1) eeew.

2) there's only so much, realistically, you'll ever really be able to get them to wash their hands. washing before meals maybe, but not after every grody encounter.

3) I like praying mantises too. but parasites not so much. eew.
post #3 of 21
My boys would've thought that was really cool. What an interesting experience.

I, too, often worry about my kids not washing their hands enough. I am kind of lax in that area, there are so many battles to pick and choose from. But since you live in a tropical area and parasites are a concern, I might harp on hand washing a bit more.
post #4 of 21
DUDE! You should have put a disclaimer on your thread title, because I am going to have nightmares just THINKING about what I read. LORD!!!

Darn it, now Im itching........Is there a hebee jeebee smilie?
post #5 of 21
4. Eeeeeeewwwww.
5. You know your kids and whether they're the type to be traumatized forever or just giggle and go wash their hands more readily when you suggest it. "Lets get rid of the baby snakes so they can grow somewhere else!"
6. Eeeeeugh.
7. :
post #6 of 21
I probably would use that experience as a reason to wash hands.
I don't know it that's the right answer, though. I guess it depends on the age of the kids?
post #7 of 21
Am I the only one who thought, "cool! I wish my son was there to have seen it."?

I'd ramp up the harping on hand-washing, given the climate and risk of parasites. I don't think they will have nightmares if you don't make it a big deal. "It was really cool that we saw that happen, but you don't want that to get in your body, so wash up!"

(We once watched our neighbor's cat eat a live snake, from the tail to the head...the cat left the head, and the neighbor child brought the head into school for show-and-tell.)
post #8 of 21
wait...what is there to have anightmare about? I've seen the exact same thing before, on a camping trip. it's just....a bug. with a bug inside it, coming out. my initial reaction (and my ds, I'm sure) is COOL.

I don't see the big deal. And I wouldn't think twice about saying "see guys, that's a parasite comging out of the bug. You can get one too if you're not careful, that's why I tell you to wash your hands after you do something gross."
post #9 of 21
nightmares come from being a total Bug-a-phobe. But thats just me. I try not to project my neurosis on my kids.
post #10 of 21
If you want to give your kids some more information, I did some googling and it seems that you may have seen a hairworm coming out of the mantis's bottom. Here's a link to a thread about it.

And here's a link to a video of a hairworm emerging from a grasshopper (not for the queasy!).
post #11 of 21
Yeeech.

I used to tell our PS teacher: You have to pick your battles and hand washing is one I picked, LOL. I fought about this with my son every day for at least a year. Probably more like three years. It clearly became a battle of wills, but I won. He washes his hands now and I sometimes don't even have to ask. He's about to turn 7.

So, although I initially thought, gross, no way would I remind my kids of that, yeech.....In reality, I'd use it. Yeah, I definitely would.

Did you ever find out what it was?
post #12 of 21
Nightmare is perhaps the wrong word. If I'd encountered that as a kid and was told "wash your hands or you could have one of those inside you" I would've been washing my hands every 15 minutes or more for a time. I would also freak out every time one of my loose hairs was on my arm or something.

OTOH, my little brother would've started deliberately rubbing his hands in dirt.

So I'd be cautious both with very squeamish children AND kids who think it's exceptionally cool.
post #13 of 21
9. Ewwwwwwwwww
10.
11.
12. :rocking in corner curled up in fetal position
post #14 of 21
Could it have been an egg sack?
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoulCakes View Post
If you want to give your kids some more information, I did some googling and it seems that you may have seen a hairworm coming out of the mantis's bottom. Here's a link to a thread about it.

And here's a link to a video of a hairworm emerging from a grasshopper (not for the queasy!).
Why oh why do I look at things that are clearly marked as gross?!?!

It is kind of cool that it basically takes over it's body and makes it kill itself!
post #16 of 21
OMG! I so read through that first link... and all I can say is GROOOOOOSSSSS!

(otoh--I'm kind of intrigued and want to watch the video, but I'm scared)
post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
OP here, and I am still shuddering and whacking at imaginary insects

I do think is was a horse hair worm, and seeing it was in a way cool, but the fact that it takes over the insects body really creeps me out. We came home and googled it right after so the kids learned what it was and all that.

I just have some "issues" with a few different crawlies so I have really tried not to make my kids unreasonably afraid of insects that won't actually hurt them. This is why I was wondering if I should make the connection with the hand washing--they just saw a really graphic example of a parasite, but in reality this in one parasite that doesn't affect people so I guess that feels a little dishonest to link the two things?

Thanks for helping me think things through, and I am sorry that I didn't warn you that it was gross Sometimes I think I am the only one that is squeamish.
post #18 of 21
My grandfather was a parasitologist, and my mother was always telling us horror stories about the parasites we could get. As far as I know, however, I've never had any. Not even lice. Even when I lived in a tropical, third-world country and frequently ate street food. I have heard that having some parasites may lower your chances of developing asthma and allergies though! OK, my post has no point, but I think that's kinda cool that you saw that
post #19 of 21
o.k., so my 2 year old loved the video. I, on the other hand, am trying not to gag.
post #20 of 21
ever since my severely asthmatic friend who went to volunteer in somalia came back without asthma AND i heard a program on NPR about us being too clean and needing more parasites in our guts (that made sense to me because very few in the tropics have allergies - the ones they have are usually due to pollution) my ewwwww factor has disappeared.

i am all for parasites.

i would not blow this out of proportion and ask your kids to wash their hands based on one native speakers opinion.

as my dd likes to say 'so if we ate a little bit, i'd just be sick a little bit and be ok mooom. i WONT die you know.'
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