Our daughter is three, and despite the involuntary hand-wringing and mild heart palpitations I experience when I think about one day being the parent of a female adolescent, I don't think about the differences between the sexes all that much.

When I do, it's usually in regards to how she reacts to the world, especially when she is afraid of something. Several months ago she was, suddenly, terrified of insects, and her father and I responded by casting loving glances at all the spiders and spouting off horrible lies (at least on my end) like, "Isn't that a cool little beetle!" We bought her a book called "I Love Bugs." It worked. She got over it.

I suppose our (perhaps silly) "bugs-are-the-best!" game plan was sparked by the fact that we didn't want our daughter doing the stereotypical girl thing and getting all afraid of bugs before she'd even left toddler-hood. I mean, disclaimer: I don't like bugs and am doing just fine, but still.

I hadn't really thought about the whole thing until yesterday, when my husband excitedly showed me a praying mantis that's taken up residence on the frame outside our front door.

Go ahead and talk about the debt ceiling all you want, guys, but be assured, we here at the McDonough household, are dealing with a true disaster. Because every time I enter or exit the house, I'm positive it's going to come in here. With its long, spindly legs and its soul-searching eyes.

And if it does I'm going to have to move out. It's as simple as that.

However, thinking about our recent parenting philosophy, I've tried keeping the cries of despair to myself and this morning as we left the house I noticed - with a sinking heart - that it was still there, and I said, with such forced joy that none but an innocent child could have taken me seriously, "Oh look! The praying mantis!"

And my daughter replied, "Yeah, there it is!" And then she moved closer, as though maybe she wanted to TOUCH IT which, let's be honest, is going too far. So I distracted her, thankfully an easy task with a small child, and we left our awful little friend behind at the front door, where it continues to ruin my life.

But our daughter's not afraid. That's great because being a kid is an excellent time to be fearless. And also because, let's face the facts, if it comes down to any necessary physical dealings with that thing, we're going to need someone at the helm and it's obviously not going to be me. And, come on, it's not going to be her father either.