In the car today after Ben's ski lesson, he carefully unpacked his end-of-session goody bag full of everything from cliff bars to stickers to maps of the mountain, all a gift from his instructor. He pulled the contents out one at a time and showed them to Abby, who admired them dutifully.
At one point, Ben said to Abby, "I'm not going to show this to Mommy because she won't like it."
At this declaration, I, of course, quickly glanced in the rearview mirror to see what might be too offensive to show me. I glimpsed a plastic skull ring on his finger and began thinking about how amazing it is that he can intuit my discomfort with all things grotesque or morbid and then began worrying that I've been, perhaps, too overt in my discomfort toward such objects so that he would feel, at five, that he needs to shield or protect me from certain things--or, perhaps more accurately, protect his loot. Because I was already plotting how I might get rid of that ring. Is that terrible? And if this is the dynamic now, how will he ever feel comfortable confiding in me as he gets older and the issue becomes more complicated than a skull ring.
So I said in my most encouraging, light-hearted voice, "It's okay, Bug. You can show me anything."
At which point, he held up another plastic treasure and said, "See, Mommy. It's a spider ring. You don't like spiders."
To which I exhaled a great sigh of relief and chuckled internally and confirmed, "Yep, you're right. I don't like spiders," and then proceeded to exclaim over his creepy crawly.
Spiders. I should have known.