Sunday, July 29, 2012

Of Bugs and Boys

  I took the kids to the nature park yesterday and we wandered around on the little trails that meander through some woods and over streams and ponds. The kids were pretty excited about the wildlife they saw—which consisted mostly of song birds and bugs.

Blythe had a sad incident with a roly poly---he found one on the trail and after showing it to Evelyn, announced “Roly polies live in the dirt. I am going to help him find a new home.” 

He spent a couple of minutes searching and found a nice patch of dirt at the edge of the trail. Gently, and with great ceremony, he placed the bug in the dirt. It started rolling back towards the path so Blythe pressed it with a finger in an effort to sink it into the dirt. I got distracted by the baby about then and only looked up when Blythe let out a bloodcurdling shriek. I thought maybe he’d been stung by something. I tried to get Blythe to use words rather than wail, and we came to a compromise.

He wailed in plain English, “I crushed the roly poly!”

He followed this unfortunate declaration by falling to his knees with anguished sobs. It was melodramatic, but he was in earnest. He flung his hands heavenward and cried, “I didn’t MEAN to squish him! I was only trying to help him find a comfy home in the dirt!” (the last word was drawn out to the point of unintelligibility.)
It was all I could do to NOT LAUGH at the kid. He was so sad. He carried on for quite awhile, even after Calvin had picked up the semi-squished roly poly and declared it “nope, not dead.” (It was in a bad way, however, and I put it out of it’s misery as soon as Blythe was facing the trail again.)

Blythe continued to lament until we were about halfway through our walk.  At that point, Gloria found another roly poly and there was a tussle over who got to hold it. Eventually, Blythe convinced Gloria to let him carry it. He found another patch of dirt, and (with extra gentleness but less pomp than the last time) deposited the bug. After watching to make sure it stayed put, he exulted. “Mom! I didn’t squish THIS roly poly!”

And thus, Blythe was absolved from involuntary bug-slaughter.