Spring has arrived in full-force. The signs are everywhere: daffodils and tulips have come and are starting to fade, the cherry trees in front of our house exploded in pink blossoms that have started to fall to the ground like pale pink snowflakes, and the sun is still shining where the kids’ bedtime sneaks up on us. The weather has been pretty glorious over the past few weeks, which means the kids and I have spent a lot of time outside digging in the dirt–me digging up weeds and planting seeds; my son digging for worms and bugs; the baby girls alternately digging, flinging, or tasting the different types of dirt around our yard.
This year, while digging, we’ve come across several hard-shell insect pupas burried in the dirt (moth cocoons I learned from a quick Google search).
“Hey, Buddy, here’s another one of those cocoons,” I called across the yard. My son came running and bent over to see the dark-red cocoon resting on my garden glove. When I touched it with a bare finger, the pointy end wiggled and squirmed, assuring us there was something alive inside.
“Put it on my shovel,” he said, not ready to touch it with his bare hands quite yet. He slowly carried his new treasure over to the bench for further investigation. My focus returned to the spot I was weeding. Out of the corner of my eye I kept tabs on where each of the girls were playing. They adore their brother and always want to see what he’s doing, so I didn’t think anything about it when Baby Girl B wandered over to the bench where my son was playing with the pupa.
A few seconds later I heard my son call out, “No, Baby, NO!” I dropped my shovel and sprinted the twenty feet to the bench, expecting to see him trying to pry the cocoon out of Baby Girl’s hand. But instead he was just staring at her in disbelief. Her hands were empty.
“What did she…” I started to ask, and then something about the look on Baby Girl’s face told me what happened. “Did you eat it?” I asked, dropping to my knees, and tried to stick my soil-stained finger in her mouth. Her lips parted just slightly, and I caught a glimpse of something dark red and shiny.
“Give it to Momma,” I crooned, squeezing her cheecks to try and force her mouth open. I managed to get my finger in her mouth and felt it in there, but she still didn’t want to spit it out. “Come on, Baby, it’s yucky. Not for eating. Let me have it.”
I don’t know if it was the taste of the pupa or my dirty finger, but Baby Girl suddenly decided to spit it out into my hand. Amazingly it was only a little squished, not totally mashed up as I was expecting it to be. I put it on the bench by my son. He poked it with his finger. Nothing. “Definitely dead,” he announced.
We turned back to Baby Girl. “Yucky,” I told her. “We don’t eat bugs!”
“That’s gross!” my son backed me up.
Dirt I can handle. I figure eating a little dirt is good for the immune system. But I draw the line at moth pupa. That, I have to agree, is gross!