Squirmy

One of my students is a delightfully imaginative seven-year-old girl. She is not too consistent about practicing (it really depends on her mom being available to sit down and practice with her) and she has a tendency to lose her books, but she's so enthusiastic and so bright and has such a good sense of humor that I can deal with those other things.

Yesterday, as we began the lesson, she said "This is Squirmy's house," and gestured to a box sitting on the piano. Squirmy is a caterpillar she had found outside that morning. She made him a home out of a dominoes box with a little door cut out in front and airholes punched in the top. I peeked inside and saw a few wilted lettuce leaves for him to munch on.

About 5 minutes into the lesson, it was evident that she hadn't practiced at all. I forgave her for it because her mom's been out of town the entire week, so we turned our attention to Squirmy. Somehow, we got on the topic of bug reproduction. I said, "Did you know that caterpillars spin themselves into cocoons and then come out butterflies? And then the girl butterflies lay eggs and more little caterpillars hatch out of those?" Her face lighted up. "Maybe that will happen to Squirmy during the lesson!" I tried explaining that such processes usually take a little longer than thirty minutes (I skipped the whole bit about how you need a boy butterfly and a girl butterfly), but her enthusiasm remained undeterred. We turned back to the piano, fine-tuning such classics as "The Opposite Song" and "Rodeo," but she kept checking Squirmy's house to assess his progress.

At the end of the lesson, she took Squirmy out of the box. By now, I had some affection for him, too. After all, he WAS kinda cute: about an inch long, a lovely green color. "Hmm," she said, "he's not moving very much." Oh, no, I thought. Squirmy's gone and croaked during the lesson and I may very well have to deal with this child's first experience of the death of a pet and her mom is all the way in D.C. But Squirmy was still, well, squirming a little, so I hurriedly told her that caterpillars are usually happier in the sunlight, and suggested she take him outside to see if he improved.

I'm not sure how long Squirmy will last. I know that he (or she!) survived at least until I left because I heard my student say to her friend as I was leaving, "Have I introduced you to Squirmy yet?"

Comments

Jenn Hacker said…
Cute! Kids are so great, aren't they?

Did you manage to get some sleep? I am hoping the fact that you didn't post to your blog last night as you had said you would means Daniel actually let you get some sleep.
Suze said…
yes, last night was much better. actually, as babies go, daniel's a pretty good sleeper. it's just once or twice a week when he's up so many times that i'm sleep deprived the next day.
Jenn Hacker said…
I'm glad to hear it. Mamas need their sleep!
canadahauntsme said…
You should have put on your snob glasses and said in the most condescending voice you could muster, "Actually, caterpillars don't spin themselves inside cocoons; it's called a 'chyrisalis' (or sometimes 'pupa')."

Although I doubt that would have seriously phased her. She seemed pretty focused on Squirmy. Cute name, though.
Suze said…
See, I couldn't spell that other word. I'm not sure I spelled "cocoon" right, for that matter. Besides, I thought flutterbies spin cocoons and moths spin chrys...es. But I could be wrong. I haven't had biology since high school.

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