During the hurricane I was making meat sauce, and when I went out to pick herbs from my two-pot garden I found that aphids had taken up residence in the basil's new growth. As you might imagine, this didn't make me very happy, and despite the light rain I set to work ridding myself of the little plant murderers right away.
"Wait, Mommy, don't kill them. I want to keep them. I want to see them crack."
"The aphid eggs. I want to see them crack!"
"Do you, by chance, mean to say you want to see them hatch?"
"Yes! Hatch! I want to see them hatch!"
"But I don't want them to get to my other plants. I need to kill them."
"No, wait!" He ran to get a small plastic container, and soon a few basil leaves and their parasites were securely tucked away in there.
I frowned, wondering how on earth those would actually stay in that container and not end up in my other plants. Was there even a chance? No, I decided, there wasn't. But here I am, a home school mom, working under the theory that if I allow and encourage my child to be proactive and explore the world around him, there will be very few things we actually need to learn from text books.
So Trooper had aphids to keep him company during the hurricane, as if a dog, two cats, three crabs, and two parents weren't enough.
Then, on Saturday, we went into the school room for a reading lesson, and Trooper brought with him a sock. A sock with a clothespin fastened to it. "Look, Mom, I have a sock and a clothespin."
"Um, OK. Cool." I know my eyes went a little weird as I tried to comprehend this, but I remembered something Chip H. used to say (and probably still does), "Don't ask kids why they do things. They don't know." So I asked Trooper to set it aside and we got to work.
A while later I was pulling out paper to practice writing when I heard Trooper talking to the sock. "How are you doing little aphids?"
"You put aphids in a sock?!" Of course I was thinking, there's no way that clothespin is doing ANYTHING to keep them in there, and I have houseplants, and…In the Magic Tree House books one of the main characters, Annie, put a pet mouse in her sock to keep it warm.
Point three seconds after I remembered this, Trooper said, "I put them in there like Annie."
My friends, let this be an encouragement to you to be mindful of what you read to your children. You may think that as long as you avoid negative themes, violence, sex, and foul language, you'll be fine, but you never know what kinds of ideas will come back to join your daily life. But 'pets' in a sock aren't really that big a deal. As long as he doesn't ask me to help him mummify anything, it's all good.
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