Thursday, November 7, 2013

Charlie Brown commutes

This is a second chapter. But you probably didn't realize that you've already read the first. Remember the passing mention of Charlie the Caterpillar? He was a classroom favorite. A fuzzy little black guy, I'm not sure of his ultimate fate. He was there for a few days and then he was gone. I'm guessing the teacher set him free, because I've since learned that she is no fan of the critters.

Yesterday morning, G and I were walking up the sidewalk to the entrance to his school when a little brown caterpillar crossed our path. G was SO EXCITED. We found a large nearby oak leaf and scooped up the little guy and brought him into the class. He carried his fuzzy friend up to his teacher, excited, and she jumped back a bit. Definitely not a fan. 

But she's a great teacher and got out one of the little bug inspecting magnifying-top cylinder with air holes. All the kids gathered round and she asked G, as the little guy moved into his habitat, what the small friend's name is. Charlie! G answered immediately, because it was obvious. If the other caterpillar had been a Charlie, caterpillars must be Charlies. And the cute little kids started differentiating between Charlie Black and Charlie Brown. G was delighted with Charlie Brown. I kissed him goodbye (the boy, not the bug) and went to work.

At the end of the day, Charlie Brown was in his air-hole cylinder on the shelf in G's cubby. His primary teacher was already gone for the day but G insisted we were bringing Charlie Brown home. Remembering his teacher's reaction to meeting Charlie earlier, I found it plausible, but also: what was I supposed to do with a caterpillar and the school's science tube thingie?

As it turned out, it didn't matter much, because this morning we checked on Charlie Brown and G said we were taking him back to school again.

At the end of the day, Charlie was in his cylinder in G's chubby fist again. So for the second night, we have a caterpillar guest in the house. And G was right: Charlie poops a lot, so much so that I was repulsed by the idea of G walking around with that poop cylinder in his hand all day.

So for the love of G and Charlie-by-proxy, I cleaned the cylinder tonight. I moved Charlie into our firefly catcher, dusty and unused since summer and sure, why not spoil him. Have some strawberry tops, Charlie. I had to serve dinner to the human children, anyway.

The firefly enclosure doesn't close as securely as the cylinder, so if G wants to transport Charlie back to school tomorrow, we'll have to go back to the cylinder. And I'm now fairly sure that G will want to take Charlie back to school. 

Concerns I am pondering:

:: that cylinder thingie, I'm pretty sure, is for short-term bug observation, not full-time habitation; isn't it a little too small for Charlie?

:: but why am I worrying about the comfort of a caterpillar? Surely I have bigger issues to face tonight and tomorrow and at any given minute of the day?

:: tomorrow is Friday - is Charlie going to be ours all weekend?

:: how long is it until Charlie starts encasing himself? And is he going to turn into some ugly moth? Because you know the kids fully expect him to be a bejeweled butterfly.

I have no answers, just a lot of uninformed worries. It's a task I never thought I'd add to my motherhood resume -- 

I'm a caterpillar chauffeur.

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