Wednesday, March 31, 2010


WE'VE got some ladybugs at this here new house of ours...

I've got a thing about ladybugs, because when I came back to my parents house in the summer during college, my old room had somehow become infested with them. They were everywhere. I would wake up in the bed and they would be on my blankets and pillow and skin... EEeeeeeeee eeek yuck!!!

When they started to crawl up out of the woodwork, here at the new house, they seemed to be taking the "radiant heating" train thru the walls. They came up kind of dry and crusty. Now, they seem to be more on window sills and I'm getting pretty close to calling an exterminator. We've had to give JB a quick lesson on death and dying which I have to admit is not an easy thing to do with a 2 year old... when it comes to something that is dying at this high rate. I don't want to NOT talk to him about death (natural part of life) but I also don't want him to think of death as this casual thing that gets us excited to run and get a tissue (not to wipe our tears, but to enact a quick tiny carcass cleanup.)

It's like walking a tightrope: Don't say something like, "They are sleeping" or "They got sick." 'Cause this kid sleeps every night and he is "sick" almost as often. I don't want JB getting the idea that his life expectancy matches that of a ladybug.

Like a game of Taboo with a developmentally delayed partner that has a limited vocabulary, it is tricky. We have to get him to understand what the hell is going on with all these crunchy, immobile ladybugs, but there's a list of words we can't say: sleep, sick, injured, tired, etc. We have no problem telling JB they are "dead". But the follow up is where we get into some circular reasoning:

JB: What's wrong with that ladybug? Why he not moving?
T or K: He's dead.
JB: What dead?
T or K: He's sick... sleeping... injured... not moving...
JB: Why?
T or K: (Craftily answering a question with a question) Is he crawling or not crawling?
JB: Not crawling.
T or K: Some ladybugs crawl, some don't. The ones that aren't crawling are dead, they need to be cleaned up.

Now we've got a 2 year old running around with a small dustpan.

It is quite common in our house to hear:
"There's a ladybug, Mama/Mommy!"
(pause... tiny footsteps running... pause)
Then the sound of inefficient dustpan sweeping.

UPDATE: He figured out himself another way to put it...


Adam Hirsch said...

Your wisdom and humor awes me. :)

Tracy said...

i heart you.