Last week in A Halloween Bug Story, I told you about our adventurous walk and the critters we encountered.
Well, we’ve had quite a week with Chunky’s doodle bug, which for some reason he didn’t name until Wednesday when he took it to school for show and tell.
But let’s back up a few nights. Abject wailing brought me running to Chunky’s room one evening early this week. I found him curled into a roly-poly type ball on the floor.
“I lost him! He curled up and rolled down my arm. Why would he DO that?”
We searched and searched Chunky’s room, but couldn’t find the bug.
Bedtime routine collapsed, and I had to return to his room for more comforting after he’d been tucked in. Finally I told him the story about my rabbit, Peanut, who died of heatstroke when I was little. I cried over Peanut for weeks. But then I got a new bunny named Scooter who heeled like a dog and bit me on the shin once.
After I showed Chunky my bunny scar, he calmed down and went to sleep. Ah, the magic of scars. An hour or so later, Kory headed upstairs to bed and found the doodle bug laboriously climbing down the steps. We think he was making a break for the front door. No such luck, Buggie.
We woke Chunky up and pointed to the step where his doodle bug trundled through the carpet pile. You would’ve thought it was Christmas. Boy and reluctant bug reunited. Boy with open palm and radiant face. Bug in insect fetal position.
The next day we transferred doodle bug to the container we use for feeder crickets for the turtles. Don’t worry, I cleaned it out so doodle bug wouldn’t experience the horror of cricket poo and parts.
Chunky took him to school where somehow the bug earned the name Alex. But Chunky, who forgets his homework, his lunch tote, water bottle, jacket, and most things not attached to his person, forgot Alex at school.
This is where it gets grim, folks. Today I made an extra trip to the school to drop off Chunky’s snow boots. My son beamed as he walked toward me in the hall, carrying the cricket cage. We exchanged snow boots for cage and I turned to go, holding the cage up to check on the roly poly.
“He’s still alive!” Chunky called before disappearing around the corner on his way back to class.
I eyed the cage again. Dried up apple slice, dried up grass, dried up paper towel. Half-curled, dried-up, definitely-dead doodle bug.
What am I gonna do?! Chunky comes home in an hour! There’s snow on the ground so there’s no way I can find another roly poly in time.
I’m looking guilty here, people.
“Natural causes” won’t suffice as an explanation to my eight-year-old.
Maybe cake and chocolate milk will soften the blow.
Or I could run downstairs and see if I can get my mother’s rabbit to bite me.
Either way, I'm in for some drama.
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