On Saturday, we went outside to go to a park, and noticed that on the blacktop there were about 15-20 caterpillars hanging out. Few of them were moving, however. It had been a pretty hot day and I'm afraid they might've been cooked on the blacktop. But we didn't discuss this with Hadley. Being the brave soul that I am, I told her that they were all asleep. And off to the park we went.
We continued to see caterpillars on Sunday, and by Monday Hadley had grown quite interested and attached to them.
The accident happened on Monday.
We were playing outside when Hadley spotted an active one. She yelled, "Mama! This caterpillar is crawling!" I walked over to see it, and so did Harper. Can you see where this is going?
Harper is excited about anything Hadley is excited about, and so, yelled, "Cater P!" (That's about the best I can do with what she says.) Harper went right up to it, took one step too close, and squished it.
This was not your run of the mill bug squish. This was more like a Nightmare on Elm Street kind of squish. It's not a good bug to start with is all I'm saying. Ants are good. Maybe a fly. Caterpillars are definetely PG-13; bordeline R.
Harper said, "Oh no!" Then, "Oh man!" But Hadley screamed and screamed.
"Mama! His face fell off! What is that yellow stuff? What is that black stuff? Where is his face? Mama!" It was horrible. She was crying, Harper kept saying, "Oh no! Oh man!" And I was trying to calm everyone down.
After that Hadley insisted that I hold Harper. She was not allowed to walk on the sidewalk, or blacktop. This did not make Harper happy at all. Both girls were screaming as I tried to convince Hadley to walk back to our place while holding Harper in a football grip. Hadley didn't want to walk, though. "I'm afraid I'm going to hurt another one." This was truly traumatic for her.
We got inside, ate dinner, got ready for bed, but this is not where it ends. Hadley came out of the bedroom several times that night. Not an abnormal thing, but on the fourth time she said, "I'm really worried about the caterpillar. Is he going to be OK? Do you they make caterpillar band-aids? Do you think his mommy will find him?" That last one killed me. It was a very sad day.
The next day, we went back outside.
Do you see Hadley's finger on Harper's truck? She's telling Harper not to move.
And here she is yelling at Harper to stay right where she is. It was a really fun afternoon.
Clearly, this wasn't working out. Hadley was near tears asking to go back inside. I asked her if she'd like to go to the little park in our complex, and after convincing her I didn't think there were any caterpillars there, we went.
This was much more successful. Hadley seemed to forget about the caterpillars for the time being, and Harper got to run around without her big sister ready to body slam her if she got too close to a bug.
So I guess this is another "first" for Hadley. I'm sorry it had to happen. I'm sorry that growing up means she has to learn this stuff, but I hope that in her memories of being a kid she'll think about the good things too. Like watching the ants march to their hills, or picking up pine cones, or making hopscotch games and blowing bubbles on the blacktop. Or the time all the cherry blossoms fell from the tree above our car and we padded through them trying to make a path on the sidewalk, and Hadley asked, "Is this snow?"