I've unwittingly raised a city girl. Our family recently went to Utah for vacation and Pixie worked herself up into a screaming fit every time she saw an inchworm. I was baffled. In 2nd grade I had an inchworm box that I brought with me to school and had the little guys entertain me during the long classes. So when my own flesh and blood screamed at the prospect of even leaving the house for fear of our green allies, I knew something had to be done. My apartment dwelling, city slicker spawn must be broken.
We've been living at the L.A. Arboretum ever since. The place is crawling with disgusting insects, bee hives, turtles, ducks, lizards, peacocks, and every other respectable germy varmint. It took Pixie a few trips, but she's finally getting accustomed to paling around with inferior life forms.
But there is one animal there that I refuse to let into our Mother Earth Circle of Love. The Canadian Goose. Call me cruel, but I have no place in my heart for these presumptuous fowl with their beady black eyes and insatiable gluttony. My childhood was filled with aggressive geese chasing me across lawns and sickening slips in their greasy remains. I remember tales of geese beating small children to death with their wings. I never could drop my suspicions of the murderous intents of the local population.
I taught Pixie on day one at the Arboretum that the geese aren't our friends. She laughed and asked why not. "Because they are evil." Of course, Pixie followed up with her stubborn "why," but I let it stand at that. As a kid, I was walking through a field and a goose flying overhead dropped a bomb onto my bare foot. Pure evil.
It is with no remorse that we now feed our precious bread crumbs only to the cuter, gentler mallards. I feel no guilt whatsoever about finding a new spot on the pond when the geese discover our generosity and swim over for their share. Pixie plays along, and breaks into hysterical fits of laughter when I try and 'shoo' away the geese. She doesn't yet understand why her mother, who encourages her to pick up bugs, catch lizards, and pet turtles, is the blood-enemy of the goose. I don't want her to be a city slicker, but I can't stomach the idea of my own child entering into a peace treaty with this soulless bird.
Pixie is now well on her way to being a nature girl. As her mother, it is with pride that I watch her chase butterflies, stalk lizards and sneer at geese. She'll turn out just fine.