Apprentice came running into the house with the his buddy from the neighborhood, (we’ll call him Rick). “What are you up to?” I asked. They seemed intent on finding all kinds of stuff in the house. Some tape, pieces of cardboard, paper, scissors.
“Can I use this scissors on grass?” Apprentice replied.
“No,” I answered. Let’s try this again. “What are you doing outside?”
“Making a house for the ladybugs.” Oh, well, then, by all means please take all the supplies you need. I giggled, gave them an old scissors, told them to be careful and went back to whatever I was doing. The boys returned to their task of building a housing development for our neighborhood ladybugs.
Tuesday, immediately after school
“Mom! Look at what I am bringing home! I caught some ladybugs over lunch and I am bringing them home so they have a place to stay this winter!” Apprentice is at it again with the ladybugs and their winter homes. I have a feeling he may have a future in Arizona or Florida real estate.
“Terrific,” I responded, “As long as they are not in the house.” He nodded, then appeared to go deep into thought. (This is important later in the story)
Apprentice had put the captured ladybugs in a ziploc bag. This is the same bag that his grapes were in earlier in the day, so give the boy some points for recycling. He had put grass, leaves and etc in the bag after lunch so to create a temporary home for his ladybug friends. Rick had made a hole in the bag so they could get some air. The ride home from school was eventful. About half way home, Apprentice screamed, which led to Jaybird kicking my seat, screaming and generally moving all over the place. Mid let out a “will you calm down?” and informed me that the ladybugs had (GASP!) escaped. Jaybird and Apprentice were freaking out because they did not want the ferocious ladybugs to crawl on them. I had to pull over.
“What is going on back there?” I turned to find looks of terror on the faces of Apprentice and Jaybird and a combination of impatience and disgust on Mid’s face. All started to yell at once. The ladybugs had gotten out of the ziploc bag and were apparently ravaging our minivan. I opened all the windows and told them to calm down. The ladybugs would not cause any damage. Furthermore, I assured them that ladybugs are not dangerous and we would live to see another day.
Upon arrival at home, Apprentice confirmed that all ladybugs were out of the baggie and his lunch box. He expressed his concern as to what these poor, defenseless insects would do over the harsh winter. He went inside with a heavy heart. Mid told me that he doesn’t get the whole fascination his brother has with the ladybugs. “You know, perhaps the ladybugs want to be with their family over the winter and don’t want to live with us. Sheesh.” He shook his head. I followed the kids inside, cleaned out Apprentice’s lunch bag and went on with dinner preparation.
JB sent the kids upstairs to brush teeth, read books, get ready for bed. I heard a lot of whispering. I don’t know about other people’s homes, but no good usually comes from my children whispering while huddling together. I walked upstairs as quietly as I could. When I got to the boys’ bedroom I looked around. They were in the bathroom brushing their teeth, but I had one of those “mother moments” where I could sense something was amiss in their room. I looked around. Nothing. I looked on their dresser. Nothing. I looked in the nightstand drawer. Bingo. Another baggie of grass, leaves and you guessed it.. ladybugs. Thinking this may not be it, I looked under beds. More ziploc bags with ladybugs. What the hell? Apprentice seemed to be operating a (totally unsanitary deathtrap) ladybug home in his room. We had a discussion, summarized below.
“Remember what we talked about on the playground today? That the ladybugs cannot live in this house?”
“Yes, Mom,” he answered. “So what should I do with them?”
“We need to let them go outside. Let’s take them to the deck.” I answered. I couldn’t bear to tell him that his little bugs (pets?) had all perished in the ziploc bags.
So I hope this is the end of his ladybug hotels in ziploc baggies. I am thinking that I need to do some research on how to properly care for these things over the winter. We seem to have a project on our hands.