You can lead a caterpillar to a leaf, but you cannot make him eat it. However, if you are my kid, you will try, try and try again.
Yesterday, when I came home from work, Daddy greeted me. “You should ask Joe what he saw today that was cool.” Because I always do what my better half asks of me (*cough*), I turned to Joe and asked, “What did you see today?”
With smile that would light up the darkest hour of the darkest day, Joe beamed and said, “I watched my caterpillar eat almost an entire pepper leaf!” Seconds later, Daddy chimed in, “He did! I saw it, too!” (As if I was going to question the validity of what Joe observed.) “It was so cool.” My husband continued, “The caterpillar ate so fast and so much. He must have been famished.” Joe was still beaming, nodding his head in agreement.
Since yesterday, Joe has been trying to get his pet caterpillar to repeat the eating frenzy. For now, Pillar, as Joe named him, seems to prefer to eat in a more civilized manner.
This morning, I stood by the window and watched Joe . He was outside, sitting next to his caterpillar. I watched as Joe looked in the bucket every few seconds, checking on Pillar. Then, Joe would seem to stare off into his surroundings while remaining vigilant. He made sure none of Pillar’s predators were approaching. Joe and Pillar remained outside for at least 30 minutes, enjoying the world around them.
Earlier this week, a fellow blogger wrote a wonderful post about wonder. I encourage you to take a moment and read “Only Wonder”. While I watched Joe, I could not help but wonder what was going through his mind. I wondered, as I am sure he wondered. As his mom, I wondered “What can I do to encourage his love for nature, insects and animals?”, and “Should I buy him a lizard?” I also noticed and appreciated how he sat there – in the yard – with is caterpillar friend. I thought, “Man, what a cool kid.” “I need to document this moment. This is the stuff that matters.”
So, I walked away from the window to get my camera. I wondered if Joe would still be in the same spot when I returned. He was in the same spot, and I took pictures of him through the window.
When he came inside for lunch, I asked him if I could take a picture of his friend, Pillar. “Sure!” He responded. “And you know what else?” He asked. Without giving me a chance to respond, “Guess what I found, when I got another pepper leaf?”
“What do you mean you got another pepper leaf? You’re not suppose to go to the pool area.” “Well, I know; but earlier you said he looked hungry.” (Smart kid, using Mommy as the reason behind his decision making.)
“What did you find on the pepper leaf?” I half expected him to tell me he found a caterpillar, perhaps named Cat’er. Instead, he held up three fingers and my eyes grew big. “Three caterpillars?!” I asked. “No. Three eggs. Want to see? You can take a picture of the eggs, too.”
I’m not sure what will come of or out of those eggs. Stay tuned. If anyone can see to it that these eggs hatch safely, Joe can.
I love my kid. I love both my kids. I love their sense of wonder. I love their appreciation for nature. I love the fact that my kid just yelled, “Hey Mommy! There’s a huge tarantula on TV. You should come see it! Oh! Now, there is a huge millipede. Come look!”
Be kind; take care of yourself and each other, and let yourself get lost in wonder.