The list of "everyday" animals I fear is long: lizards (my most recent unsettling encounter), snakes, frogs, toads, fish, spiders, rats, mice, gerbils, birds, squirrels, flying squirrels, and bats.
The list of animals I do not fear is short: cats, (most) dogs, bunnies, hamsters, and butterflies.
While in Madison, my mom, Hallie, and I went to Olbrich Botanical Gardens to check out their Blooming Butterflies exhibit. Prior to entering the exhibit, the Garden's volunteers reminded us that under no circumstances could we touch the butterflies; if a butterfly landed (and stayed put) on us we were to move slowly toward one of the fans so that the light breeze could blow the butterflies on to their next landing spot.
The three of us enjoyed wandering through the exhibit and taking pictures of the butterflies that fluttered close to us or landed on the flowers and plants.
Just as we were preparing to leave, a butterfly landed on my mom's hair. It looked lovely there, kind of like a barrette.
Hallie began to panic, but when she saw how calm my mom remained she pulled herself together and laughed with us about how funny the butterfly looked on Grandma's head. She also started telling anyone and everyone who would listen that "these butterflies REALLY like my Grandma".
After letting "our" butterfly hang out for couple of minutes, my mom gently shook her head and the butterfly flew away. Except it didn't go far…it circled around and landed on my mom a second time, this time on the front of her shirt. And it WOULD. NOT. LET. GO. I tried gently blowing on it…and it climbed, one slender leg at a time, an inch or two higher. My mom tried gently dancing around…and it climbed, even more carefully, two inches higher. My mom stood in front of the fan…and it clung to her shirt for dear life.
At this point Hallie began to panic again, and my mom admitted that she too was freaking out a little. I stayed perfectly calm until we looked at the picture my mom took - just holding her phone camera out in front of her face and pointing it down - of her new best friend...then we all freaked out a lot.
If that animal's eyes don't give you nightmares, I don't know what will. Butterflies just jumped lists.