Translation: Caterpillar! Bulldozer! Also known as Cragbaby’s favorite topics these days. While he’s always had an affinity for creepy-crawlies, the bulldozer fascination is relatively new. Of course I use the term bulldozer rather loosely – while he regularly demonstrates his extensive knowledge of big trucks whenever we read our “big truck books,” in a pinch it’s much easier to refer to any truck as a bulldozer and just assume that Mommy knows what he means.
Anyway that being said, you can only imagine the thrill in my little Cragbaby’s eyes when he arrived at his sandbox one afternoon to find it crawling with caterpillars! He literally squealed with glee as he gently placed them inside his little green dump truck (bull dozer) and motored them all around the sand box. I’m not sure the caterpillars shared his sentiments however. As soon as C turned his back the wiggly worms of course tried to make a getaway – but not before C could pluck them up again and cover them with sand.
At first I kinda felt bad for the caterpillars. A lifelong lover of butterflies and self-proclaimed nature dork, I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for fuzzy crawlers. However when I glanced up at the tree beside the sandbox and saw not one, but THREE nests of tent caterpillars just waiting to burst open with millions of minions with the munchies…I figured the learning experience for Cragbaby was worth the possible casualty of 2 or 3, especially with the oportunity to emphasize “gentle.” To his credit, all ten were still crawling by the time he was finished with them, although a few of them were admittedly a bit haggard-looking.
Watching C with the caterpillars brought back so many fond childhood memories. I can remember catching as many caterpillars as I could fit into an old aquarium, dutifully providing leaves and water, and watching in awe and amazement as the tiny larvae spun their cocoons and prepared for their big transformation into a beautiful butterfly. Somehow though I was always slightly disappointed when the only caterpillars I could catch were the ones that turned into small, drab-looking moths…not to mention the one time we randomly ended up with 3 large horseflies buzzing around stark mad – but that’s another story for another day I suppose. I’d love to hear from everyone else’s experiences – what creepy-crawlies are family favorites in your household? Do you encourage the encounters or teach observation from a distance?