Friday, March 24, 2006

City Nature

When rummaging through the laundry yesterday, a cricket leapt out of the socks and sweatpants. I called the boy over right away to have a look. We’re unaccustomed to bugs in and around the house, so he didn't quite know what to make of it. My own childhood was full of things like crickets and skunks and snakes and the fascination that goes along with them. When I was a bit older than he is now, I checked out the same spider book from the public library at least twelve times in a row. I spent hours understanding the ant lions that waited in their little craters around my babysitter’s porch.

“It’s a real cricket,” he said, taking a few steps back.

A few months ago, a (different?) cricket began chirping in our bathroom just before the boy was to brush his teeth. I ushered him slowly in since we have to go far away to hear such things. He insisted on touching me the whole time, and we talked through the what and the why. He managed to convince himself that the cricket was friendly and the sound was pleasant, and I think he actually missed it when it finally went quiet. He even held his breath to listen.

But the real, live cricket heading for his room required a bigger backstory to tame. My wife, as always, was ready.

Momma: What’s his name?
Boy: Cricket.
Momma: Does the cricket have a little sister?
Boy: Yes!
Momma: What’s her name?
Boy: “Little Cricket.”
Momma: Does he have a daddy?
Boy: Yes!
Momma: What’s his name?
Boy: His name is cricket, too.
Momma: What’s his mommy’s name?
Boy: Her name is cricket, too. And he’s got a brown balloon. Q [our daughter] doesn't want to eat him.

[For the record: We went for balloons earlier that day; the boy’s was orange and Q’s was green. And Q most likely did want to eat him.]

We agreed that Cricket’s parents were probably worried, so we herded him uneasily into a plastic cup to take outside.

Cricket in a cup
Out back in the park, the cold wind working against us, the boy and I found a suitably leafy spot to make the drop. It felt, just for a moment, oddly like a funeral. The feeling obviously wasn’t mutual, though--he quickly popped off the lid and turned over the cup, sending the bug kicking into the brown grass. I could see it head deep.

Heading in, we talked about seeing him again when the weather warmed and what he will have for breakfast when he gets home. Turns out that crickets like french toast, too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You think you have it rough: A Bug’s Life
Another bug story to add about my kids, let’s call one “M” (the big sister - 3 years old) & “B” (the little brother - 17 months old). “M” saw a large black ant like bug in our unfinished basement the other day. “M” said, "yuk an ugly bug", and kept her distance & didn’t want much to do with it. “B” ran to her sister picked up the bug with his little pinchers, looked at it closely, then squished it in front of his face. The sister looked at him like he was some sort of gutless exterminator. Then he dropped the bug on the ground, laid down on his belly, with his face right at the bug and screamed at it. Fortunately, the bug's ears were squished and he died quickly with no suffering; thus little "B"’s torture treatment of yelling at the bug to get up had no effect on the bug. I guess it goes without saying sometimes “Boys will be Boys”.

And Yes “M” and “B” are related to “M” & “Q”. They are the children of “D” & “A”.