Caterpillar Tea

teaLately, Kaiden has been into making pets of any creepy-crawly thing that crosses his path. I guess little boys are programmed to want to capture, and inevitably torture, pretty much anything they can get their hands on. His latest victim was a tiny caterpillar we found crawling up the side of the trampoline netting. As soon as I saw it, I thought: “You’re a gonner.”

Being the softy that I am, when Kaya and I discovered the caterpillar I didn’t tell Kaiden. I tried to protect the little guy as best I could. But a 5-year old boy is no match for a mom when it comes to bugs and such. Of course he found it right of away. And he had to make it his. He brought it inside and put it in a cup. I made him try to give the caterpillar some comfort of home by lining the cup with grass and twigs. Kaiden checked on the guy all night, playing with it by watching it crawl on a stick. He wanted to keep it forever.

The next morning I checked on Mr. Caterpillar, but he wasn’t in his cup. I looked around for a while but couldn’t find him. Siig came upstairs and made some tea.

“I can’t find the caterpillar,” I told him. We looked around for a few minutes. Then……

“I think I know why,” Siigo said, dumping out his tea in the sink. I looked down. There lay Mr. Caterpillar, drowned and boiled.

What are the chances that of all the places in the entire house, even all the mugs, he landed in the one Siig used as a receptacle for boiling hot water? So in the end, the unfortunate centipede died not at the hands of a torturous 5-year old but an unknowing 40-year old. Some luck. Guess he was doomed from the start.

But who was going to break the news to Kaiden?

When Kaiden finally came upstairs, I avoided the subject as best I could. But finally he noticed his pet was missing.

“Mom, where’s my caterpillar?

This was a delicate situation here. Should I lie? Tell the truth? A little bit of both?

I thought it best to break it to him gently: “You’re dad killed him. He used him as a tea-bag.”

For a few seconds, Kaiden didn’t say anything. I could see he was analyzing the situation, deciding whether to be sad or intrigued or mad that he wasn’t the one to kill the caterpillar. Finally, he shrugged his shoulders.

“Can I get a dog now?”

Ummm, yeah, I’ll have to think about that one.


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