Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weekend moments

What is it about children and bugs? Bean-girl is indifferent to the bright finches and cardinals that come to our bird-feeder, but is held rapt at the sight of an ant on the ground. Ladybugs, caterpillars, spiders and worms—all are fascinating, no matter how many times she’s seen them before. Legume is similarly thrilled.

This weekend I bought the girls a bug-hunting kit from a local nature center. One of the best six dollars I’ve ever spent. A simple net, a cheap pair of binoculars and magnifying class (which are too out-of-focus to really let you distinguish anything), and this nifty little bug-catcher, two halves of a plastic ball mounted on what look like the edges of scissors. You squeeze the handles of the bug-catcher together and the plastic halves close in and trap the bug in a sphere (studded with breathing holes, to boot).

The past two evenings we’ve been on bug-hunting walks. Bean-girl was absolutely thrilled to come upon a wriggling red worm on the sidewalk and carefully placed her net over the worm, proud that she’d finally caught something. She was so proud that, in fact, she “caught” the worm several times, repeatedly putting the net over it and then taking it off. Various ants and beetles on the sidewalk were caught in similar fashion. Legume grabbed the plastic ball bug-catcher and proceeded to flip bugs on their backs and pound/grind them to oblivion. There was a nasty moment when I thought she would do the same to a second worm we encountered, and I picked her up (howling her dismay) to prevent this occurrence.

Tonight we headed down the hill behind our house and through the open campus of the community rec center, skirting the edges of wild prairie-grass. Bean-girl thrashed the tall grass with her net. Legume plunged down a small path someone had trampled in the grass, and we had no choice but to follow her. Gnats and small grasshoppers (?) hopped and whirred, too fast for Bean-girl to deliberately catch. Then, heading back home, she noticed that her net was full of tiny bugs after all, prompting a moment of serious study, then much shaking to be rid of them.

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Tonight I put Bean-girl to sleep and Husband put Legume to bed. As Bean-girl and I said goodnight to Legume, Legume waved happily (not crying for once). Unprompted, she said for the first time on her own, “I love oo.” And then, “Have a good night.”

4 comments:

Life As I Know It said...

I have one who loves bugs and one who would rather not be near bugs.

I remember being a kid and catching fireflies on summer nights. Such fun...

Glad yours are having fun exploring the outside!

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

I used to love going bug hunting with my nephew... he's too old and cool to go looking for worms with his auntie now though. But never fear, a new crop of babies is on its way... 5 friends are due in the next 6 weeks!

ScientistMother said...

that sounds like an awesome weekend. what a wonderful end to it as well.

Monkey is currently obsessed with patapillers.

Cath - hmm there must've been some crazy storms last fall!

The bean-mom said...

Ohhh, Bean-girl and Legume LOVE caterpillars. They're all time favorites, I think.

I was never much into bugs... but I must admit, there is no one like a toddler to tutor you in the close observation of the wriggly critters. To my surprise, worms are pretty cool after all! (Well, I always thought C. elegans were cool, but even common earthworms are kinda nifty to watch)

Storms, Scientistmother? In the States, we'd say there must be something in the drinking water...