Life with 4 kids 6 and under. Our trip to pick up Tonito in China is: mid-March 2008 through April 12. Our trips to pick up Ricky in Ethiopia are in June and August of 2010.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Watermelon and roly-poly drama

WATERMELON is in season, and for those who don't know, Tonito's province (Xinjiang) is famous for melons, and especially watermelon! Even when we were in Guangzhou and people asked where Tonito was from, all of the Chinese people we met would mention something about the good watermelons from Xinjiang. (maybe because it is so far away that is all they knew!:). So anytime we are at the supermarket and Tonito sees the watermelon, he of course asks for it! now that it is in season we eat it all the time... I think we could grow watermelon in Houston? Maybe we will try...

We are studying bugs and insects right now at home- it is so fun! I used to always collect bugs as a kid, and make little habitats for them in old aquariums, so when my mom was getting rid of the aquariums I grabbed them and put them in our garage. Armed with buckets and jars from the recycling bin, we started by going on a bug hunt and found a ton of roly-polys, aka pillbugs, under the rocks and garbage cans. Then Vivi saw a centipede and screamed- not because she was scared... no, she was ECSTATIC to find such a big bug! She grabbed the red, wriggly, leggy, centipede and I told her to quick put it in the bucket "so it wouldn't get away" (or so it wouldn't bite her!? Do they bite?). Gross. Tonito was a ltitle jealous, but no worries- he started finding centipedes as well. We ended up with at least 20 roly-polys, a handful of worms, a couple of beetles, and 5 or 6 centipedes. The kids had made the cutest little house (can you describe a dirty aquarium with sticks, dirt, bark, and rocks as cute?) for the bugs, and loved dumping them in and watching them burrow down. We also threw in some potato peels because I read somewhere that roly-polys like to eat them.
Fast-forward 2 days: the kids kept going out and looking at the bugs, but couldn't usually find any roly-polys. So at night we were reading a book about pillbugs and all of a sudden there was a huge picture of a reddish centipede, the exact one we had in our little palace. Underneath I read the words with dread "One of the only predators of the pillbug is the centipede." I should have thought quicker, but instead, I explained what a predator was and the kids got a little "circle of life" lesson. I couldn't imagine Vivi getting so upset: real tears, sobbing, "why did they eat our roly-polys? why didn't we protect them?" Tonito started crying as well and asked to call Grandma. We called my mom, who listened while the kids blubbered about how the mean centipedes ate all of our roly-polys. Then the bombshell fell:
My mom: It's OK Vivi, it's not your fault!
Vivi: (without missing a beat) I know, it's mommy's fault.
Me: Wait, I didn't know centipedes ate roly-polys sweetie. It's not mommy's fault, it's no one's fault.
Vivi: Well, maybe a little bit your fault. Sorry mommy.
We have sinced recovered from the traumatic event, banished the centipedes from the palace, and re-populated it with fresh new "mommy, papi and baby roly-polys." I can assure you that everyone is doing much better. We returned to the books and read one about earthworms.
Vivi: Do worms eat roly-polys?
Me: Nope! Just old plants!
Tonito: I love worms. They go po-po in the dirt. (he learned this at school)
Vivi: Me too! I always loved worms.
(then the page comes about birds eating worms.. wheels turning)
Vivi: Do birds eat roly-polys?
Me: No.. (hoping she won't get upset that they DO in fact eat worms)
Vivi: YAY BIRDS! (she yells while ecstatically thrusting both fists in the air for victory)
Tonito: Me too. I love birds.
(apparently worms are not as cuddly and cute as roly-polys)
Me: Actually, I think birds might even eat centipedes!
(wheels turning)
Vivi: YES! I love birds. I always loved birds. They are my favorite!!!! (pronounced "fay-brit")
Tonito: Me too. Yes, birds!
Aaaaah, a happy ending. Now every time we see birds pulling out worms from the grass the kids are convinced they are eating the centipedes and saving the roly-polys. By the way, if you ever build a roly-poly palace, they really do love the potato peels!

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