Matt Knutson: Mosquitoes, snow and learning lessons

Published 8:16 pm Thursday, April 19, 2018

Things I Tell My Wife by Matt Knutson


“Where did she learn about mosquitoes?” I asked my wife following a comment made by our eldest daughter. The past few days have had several mentions of Minnesota’s state bird, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out where they are coming from. A child’s mind is a wondrous thing, but that doesn’t mean it is logical.

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The first mosquito reference was the most bizarre. Gracelyn, in a panic, grabbed at her diaper and proclaimed a mosquito was biting her in the middle of the church service. This seemed like a rather unlikely scenario, being that we were indoors and it is the middle of April. Nonetheless, we changed the diaper, and all was well. A few more mentions of mosquitoes were sprinkled throughout the following days, most notably at bath time yesterday. Apparently, a mosquito had flown into the tub and bit her on the arm. A quick kiss from Dad made it all better, but I was left wondering — how long will this go on?

The parenting side of me is torn by our little girl’s stories. On one hand, I love that she’s clearly using her imagination and embracing the joys that come from storytelling. On the other, this girl is straight up lying to us about her imaginary mosquito, and she’s got to cut it out. I’m not particularly worried about the lying, but it does make me question how truthful she is being when she tells us (name redacted) bit her at day care again. Now that I think about it, maybe the day care bully’s street name is mosquito? Two-year-olds have street names, right?

The fact that we’re getting pummeled with snow in the middle of April makes it seem like mosquito season is far off in the distance. Looking out the window, I can’t imagine days spent fishing, walking the trails, enjoying the sunset and having a bonfire are anywhere near. The cardinal in our bird feeder gives me some hope that spring must be on the way, but right now it seems more like a unicorn than reality. Maybe we should embrace the lingering winter season if it means the mosquitoes are kept at bay.

Eventually, the snow will melt and the green grass will return. Annoying bugs like mosquitos will return, and we will all long for the days when our arms weren’t itching from their bites. Gracelyn certainly doesn’t remember mosquitoes from last year, and I’m not even sure if she experienced a bite in real life. As a true nature lover, she’ll most certainly have her fair share this year. Maybe once she experiences a real mosquito bite, she’ll be less likely to cry wolf. At the very least, she’ll understand that it isn’t the bite that causes discomfort, it’s the itching that follows.

Gracelyn is clearly ready for summer fun, and hopefully we will all be there soon. I’m officially hiding the snow shovel and buying some bug spray as a good luck charm. Though winter has lingered on, there’s still plenty of time to teach our daughters about the non-itchy parts of summer that they’ll enjoy this year. In the interim, I’ll just have to keep kissing imaginary mosquito bites until day care decides to teach Gracelyn about bee stings. Who knows what unintended consequences that lesson will cause?

Matt Knutson is a communications specialist in Rochester.