My kid is way too afraid of bugs

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It was 85 degrees yesterday. EIGHTY FIVE. Of course we had to go out and enjoy the fine weather. So after picking Ethan up from school, we drove to our favorite playground. I settled down around the sand box where Ethan was playing. Then I encouraged Caleb to join his brother. Caleb whimpered sadly and shook his head. He sat down by me instead and I assumed he would go off and play soon enough. But he didn’t.

My conversation with a friend kept getting interrupted by, “Aaaagh!” and “No-ho-ho-ho-ho!” and “Eeeee!” followed by a cowering four year old clasping my arm or snuggling into me. I was so focused on conversing that I didn’t register his behavior in my head at first. Every time he made a noise I just kept telling him to shush or to go play. Finally it clicked and I wondered what all of his fussing was about and why he wasn’t playing.

“Caleb, what in the world is the matter?”
“I mee a go home!”
“No you don’t need to go home. Why are you squealing so much?”
“Aaaaagh! A bug! A bug!”
I shooed a little fly away from him
“Nohoooooo! Go away bee!”
“I shooed the fly away from him again.
“Are you flipping out because of the bugs?” I asked
“I no wike bugs mom.”

Well I guess that was my answer. I kept encouraging him to play but he wouldn’t leave my side. I had thought he wasn’t afraid of bugs anymore. Last Summer he was but then he seemed to get over it.

Oh.

Wait.

He didn’t get over it. The bugs just died. Now they’re back and Caleb is as afraid as ever. Combine that with his stubborn personality and no amount of coaxing could get him to leave my side for an instant. The constant squealing and whining was pretty darn annoying. I did have to laugh though when the whining that interrupted me at one point went like so,

“Mom, iss da big bad wofe. I scared a da big bad wofe.”
“Big bad wolf? What in the world do you mean?”
“Der mom, da big bad wofe.”

His little finger pointed toward a park bench where a huge husky sat panting in the shade of a tree, it’s owner holding the leash.

My boy is afraid of bugs and dogs and who knows what else and I don’t know what to do to help him get over it.