I had the radio tuned to NPR while Wren and I were driving to a meeting this morning. The news report announced that scientists in the Yakima Valley had detected West Nile Virus in mosquitos a month earlier than usual and people should take precautions. I watched the trees passing, a man roller blading and paused at a cross-walk to allow a mother with a dog-tangled stroller to cross and then started driving on around Greenlake when a serious voice came from the seat behind.
"That is not in America is it?"
It took me a moment to clarify that "THAT" meant West Nile Virus. I explained it was not in Seattle but nearby.
"OH MY GOD!" Wren wailed "That is why I don't like bugs. I must have known before it happened about WEST NILE DISEASE. I knew IT WAS COMING!"
I explained it wasn't as bad as Malaria and most people did not get sick from it. He was not soothed. He said "I think my foot is itchy. Its not HERE though, is it?"
I said no, it was way over the mountains towards Chelan.
"Chelan? OH. We are not going camping this year then."
This was not said as a question but as a categorical fact. He did not like the fact that I disagreed.
"THIS is why I do no like to go outside because of BUGS and what-is-the-thing called again?" [West Nile Virus] I repeat. "WEST NILE VIRUS - I will not go outside. I WILL NEVER go CAMPING! What if I get bitten by a mosquito?"
I try and explain about mosquito repellent and keeping our tent screen zipped but he is hearing none of it. After a while of complaining he says "I don't think I am really bitten... its going away."
I felt it safest to say nothing. Thankfully we had arrived.
This is only the latest iteration of Wren's anxiety about bugs. From time to time he sees a spider, a cranefly or a large ant and starts screaming. He is worried about moths and while butterlies are nice out the window he is not too keen on them very close.
We are going to have to work with insects this summer.