Friday, October 21, 2011


"My pee-pee is broken," the Sprocket tells me, crestfallen. He has come into the kitchen to where I am doing the dishes to show me what remains of his latest find. 
I look at the millipede he is holding in two parts.  Sometimes they continue moving once they have been 'broken', but this one is very still. 
"Yes, darling. It is broken. The millipede is dead, dear. All gone. You need to be very gentle with bugs. We'd better put it in the bin now."
"Pee-pee is sad, mummy" the Sprocket tells me. 
"Yes, darling, I would say the millipede is very sad. You do need to use your gentle hands with bugs. They're only little." 
He looks at it for a little longer, perplexed, and then loses interest. 
Bugs have overtaken trucks as my Sprocket's main obsession. I even know exactly when it started. A couple of months ago the Sprocket was sitting in the bath and he noticed a daddy-long-legged spider in the corner of the room. And I sang incy-wincy spider. "More Spider mummy!" 
So I sang it again. And again and again. And again. To the power of several hundred. 
And suddenly the Sprocket started noticing the bugs that are all around us. 
Both my beloved and I have suffered from hearing heart-breaking screams and come running - only to find the Sprocket pointing with awe and nerve tingling excitement at a small speck of black. 
"Bug! Bug! Bug!" 
At first,the Sprocket was unsure whether bugs were amazing or slightly scary and I'm afraid I didn't help by telling the Sprocket once in a bad-mummy-moment "If you don't stop putting your sister in a headlock mummy will send a fleet of bugs after you!" 
But after careful observation (and after watching A Bugs Life a few dozen times) the Sprocket has decided that bugs are good. (Unlike mummy and daddy who cross him all too often)
Our favourite activity at present is to go into the garden and overturn logs and bricks to find the little worlds that lie beneath, the slugs and slaters, millipedes and spiders. Some of these bugs have shorter lives than others. One poor millipede got taken to be 'washed' with sorrowful results. 
Yet despite the tragic loss of life I can't help but feel rather happy about this change in loves. Trucks I never got. Now bugs, bug-watching I can relate to.  
I suppose we all have slight hopes as to what our children will end up. I have always rather liked the thought of my children being naturalist a la Gerald Durrell of My Family and Other Animals fame, and while I'm unsure of my reaction should the Sprocket unleash a matchbox full of Scorpions and baby-scorpions on us at the dinner table as the young Durrell did to his family - turtles, pigeons, donkeys would all be good. 
So bring on the mini-beasts and I will hope very hard that this is the beginning of great things!  

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