I do NOT like animals

This week my mom skills was put to the test. I would like my children to be open-minded non-scared little humans – also when it comes to their interactions with animals. ALL kind of animals. But how do you teach your child to be open and not afraid of animals – when you yourself gets freaked out by even the smallest of insects?

The other morning there was a gigantic spider with hairy legs and a big fat body sitting on our bedroom wall. Sticking to my mantra about teaching the kids to like all animals, I off course had to show it to the toddler. However, when he asked me to grab it and give it to him, I quickly found some other interesting things for him to see. (Spider later left the wall and are now still hiding in either the closet under my clothes or in baby’s bed!)

Later the same day, while the toddler was taking a nap, I was on the couch breastfeeding when a mouse choose to enter the house through the open front door. Twice! First time he walked back out, but second time he got more adventurous. So I jumped, baby hanging on tit, at him and luckily he got scared and ran in the right direction, meaning out of the door, instead of venturing further into the house. It’s not that I am really freaked out by mice. Its only that the last time we had one to visit us, he chose to hang around for quite some time, leaving little black presents all over the living room floor … which is particularly not nice when you have kids playing there. That one saw a sad end, when we discovered him one night around 23 and the hunt began. A good time past midnight we gave up, thinking he must had disappeared through a magic hole – until we realized he had crawled under the carpet where he had gotten his head squashed while we rearranged the couch to chase him.

On my “I do not like you a lot”-list of animals are dogs. I mean … don’t even get me started on the subject of dogs. Yes, yes – I know: loyal companions, man’s best friend, la di da, but when I am taking my kids for a walk in the forest and a whole posse of dogs comes running towards us, my heart beats on triple speed and I start making strategies on how to call on phone for help, while throwing rocks at the dogs, fighting them of us with sticks when they start biting all the same time as I protect my two children by putting myself between them and what must surely be a rabies-infected gang of wild dogs. (In all fairness, I have to point out that it turned out to be an extremely well-behaved gang of dogs, out for a walk with their dog sitter, who, the moment she saw I was there with little kids, called them all back.)

To finish of the week, a new animal made it to my “why do you have to exist”-list. Normally I am not freaked out by birds. Normally. But after a big black and white bird tried to poke out the eye of my bonus son, 9 years old , (after first having tried to attack him several times on the top of his head), leaving him with a big bruise and scrape right under the eye, that species are no longer to be trusted!

So no, animals are not my friends. I do try to love them all – but it’s not working. The mom-test for at least the next 10 years is then: pretend to love the damn things, no matter what shape and size.

Oh what a joy!

Border Collies are becoming more popular in France as are Australian Collies. A few years ago I never saw one where I live, but now there are quite a few.

To Louise: Only one (Hobbit) is from the UK (14 years old now) all the other are from different parts of France. We came over with 5 Border Collies but have seen 4 pass over the bridge over the past 11 years. Because the llamas know them they all get on well and I can run the dogs ragged round the field whilst the llamas just graze and let them get on with it.

5 Border Collies - I love Border Collies, I have one and I do agility with him. Are they from the UK?

Yes... ha ha I'm with re- children too Norman...give me a goat...or chicken any time.

Heather - it must be something in our name?

I am afraid that you would find our house absolute purgatory. We have 5 Border Collies that have free run of the house. We also have a feral cat that loves being around the dogs and after 2 years is now just starting to come inside the house (but we never ever close the door because it will try and exit straight through the glass). At night we have at least 4 bats flying around the property and we have deliberately not blocked up a large round opening so that they can still have access to the large barn. Last but by no means least, we have 9 wonderful llamas which again we absolutely adore and they have been our companions and main bread winners for the past 14 years, although the team we have here now are pets and we sadly no longer breed them and train the professionally (then we had 30 llamas).

I am far more comfortable with animals around me...than people.

I LOVE all animals... creepy crawlies don't faze me...I welcome the magical praying mantis that live in my garden...lizards are lovely...snakes are super...birds beautiful...bats are flying outside my window as I type.

When ever I see any animals...I find myself smiling.

Thank you God.

I agree with Norman especially when they're under 8 years old

I will be bringing you a pet guinea pig (for the children of course!) next time I come over. :)

I love animals, especially dogs and cats. Less keen on spiders in the house. To put spiders and insects outside outside, I cover them with a jam jar and slide a piece of card between the jar and the wall trapping them in the jar and then release them outside. Once, when we were renovating our house waiting for a new window in the bedroom, bats got in and used to fly around the sitting room in the evening and it was quite difficult to get them out the window.

Ha, how I am enjoying all of your responses to this! Keep them coming. (I am alone for 2 hours, so I better use them well, meaning: work!). A tout.

7 years ago when we bought our old ruin of a disused farmhouse I was offered a cat by a neighbour, but I didn't like cats so "désolé non". 6 months later after the renovation we moved in, with the mice! One month later another neighbour (a farmer) arrived on the doorstep with a fluffy little ball of grey fur and said if we didn't take this one it would go down the well like its sisters ! So Macavity the cat (my wife is a literary soul) entered our lives to join Hugo our lovely Labrador. "Mac" soon rid the house of all mice, then the garden, then the neighbouring barns, then the whole street and now I think Cantal is devoid of mice, rats, moles etc. One evening I heard a noise in the attic, I propped open the attic flap-thingy and shoved Mac through the gap; it took her 2 minutes to arrive back at the gap with a large grey squirrelly thing in her jaws. She's only little but has the heart of a lion. The only drawback is that after a night out she often leaves body parts on the front doormat - presumably to prove to us that she' "on the job". Although originally a farm cat she's quite friendly and only draws the line when anyone tries to tickle her tummy. Mac and Hugo are also best of friends. Indeed when I take Hugo out for his evening constitutional (as he doesn't like doing his business in his own garden) Mac often walks along with us. PS Mac likes spiders too; initially, good toys and later as tasty entrées.

Well behaved animals are a joy, those that live in should be trained thosee that live out should be out, as for birds..............I have a real complex, feathers and flapping! They are stunning and I will watch the swallows, kingfishers, robins for hpoours, with glass between us or a good few meters of sky!

Do you need to pretend to the kids? Can you say you find it hard but that they can touch and look if you are with them? Certtainly your bonus(love that) would understand. Kids always know when we are dissembling, expain your fear/worry and see how it goes, take the pressure off you, there is enough of that with littles!!!

Personally I can't stand children, but love all animals.

Jane, Jane! Where did I go so wrong? It was always *me* that got the sh*tty jobs :-)

Unless you bring up your children to be extremely good and conscientious, it is always Mum who is left to clean out the rabbit, walk the dog etc. If children do look after their pets properly, it is an excellent lesson for them on how we all need to interact and in responsibility.

Good luck!

Oh Bruce - you *are* awful.... :-)

I like all animals if they are spread with gravy!

If you do not like animals.....

Boo .....