Chloe burst through the back door yesterday, covered from head to toe in dust and dirt, squealing with delight. You could just hear the excitement in her little voice as she yelled "Mom! Can you knit Sally a sweater?!" Now, Sally and Mary are her two very favorite names in the whole world, and everything is named either Sally or Mary. Both names are also apparently interchangeable (or she forgets which one she named what.) Anyhow, most recently Sally has referred to her sock puppet and her baby doll. So my reply was "Sure, I'll knit her a sweater after I finish this duck I'm working on for Cora. Now take off those muddy shoes and don't you dare walk on my carpet."
I heard her tearing her shoes off, then running full speed into the living room where I was sitting. I don't know why she bothered to take off her shoes, because her clothes and hands were still covered in dirt. But in her hand, she held her prize, and the look in her eyes of pure love told me I better take her very seriously. In her grubby little hand was her precious Sally - half of an earthworm. You know how you can cut a worm in half and they'll still live? Yeah. There she was. "It'll have to be a slimy sweater, Mom."
So we got Sally a cup to live in and then I bathed the little mongrel. Once she was all clean, she asked Andrew to please get some dirt and a stick for Sally so that she would have a home (inside a little blue plastic cup.) About every half hour, she took Sally out for some play time. She sprayed Sally with water each time she put her back in her cup. We chopped up some apple into teeny little bits so Sally would have some food. We got on the internet and learned all about worms - worm poop helps plants grow; worms are boys and girls (how do you explain hermaphrodite to a five year old?)... we learned how to make a proper wormery and have plans to start one today, so we could move Sally in where she'll be much happier, and get her some other worms to keep her company.
Well, last night, I was taking Sally into Chloe's room to sleep on her bedside table when I realized the beloved worm wasn't moving. At all. "I think your worm is dead, Chloe." I said. "No she's not mom. She's just taking a nap, because I told her to." Hmm. Do worms take naps? Could she be sleeping? "No, babe, I think she really is dead. She's not moving and worms are supposed to move." I didn't think it would be all that big of a deal. The kid catches all kinds of bugs and they die within a day or two, never to be an issue again. But not Sally. No, Sally was one of the family. She cried pretty hard once she realized what happened. We talked about worms and how they need space and enough dirt and such, and that Sally really needed to have a better home. And I promised to buy her a container of nightcrawlers when we go to Wal Mart today.
She hasn't woken up yet today, but I betcha I hear all about Sally again. What a hard lesson for a little girl to learn. :o(