Bugs and Toads

E. is at theater camp all week, and after we drop her off in the morning, M. and I have the day to ourselves. Yesterday, after running a few errands, lunch, and a nap, we spent the afternoon outside.

Obviously I’m biased, but I feel M. is possibly the best absolute kind of little boy. He’s the perfect combination of sweetness and wild (possibly feral, at times). He loves bugs, and not necessarily because they’re creepy-crawly and perfect to grossing out his big sister (though that is a plus), but because they’re tiny. Anything that is tiny is a baby. A mosquito is a baby dragonfly (and now, of course, I can’t kill mosquitoes). A small moth becomes a baby butterfly. And ants are always babies (their mamas live inside the ant hills). It’s sweet enough to make my heart ache and I can’t quite get enough of it.

While we played outside, M. managed to find and make friends with all sorts of little creatures, all while getting to play in the woods “all by himself,” which was a very special (I sat in a lawn chair with some sewing while he played just over the tree line, well within view and earshot).

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A tiny green bug, a sweet honey bee (named Honey Bee), and a lumpy, grumpy (understandably) brown toad, just to mix it up were just some of the creatures M. found. There were several more, including spiders galore, a beetle, and ants, but neither M. nor the bugs would stay still long enough for those pictures.

I’ve never been one for bugs, but seeing them through my littlest one’s eyes makes them so much more interesting and far less creepy, even when he’s chasing me with a spider. It’s one of the best things about being a mother – we’re constantly forced out of comfort zones and asked to look at situations and people in a new light. While a changing appreciation for insect life can be a small thing, it’s really an echo of a larger pattern in my adult life – a shifting, more accepting perspective. What’s more, there is nothing wrong showing bugs more love. I hope it’s teaching my littles that we should value all life, no matter how small, and work to protect it.

There are many joys in having children who are five years apart, as E. and M. are, and one of is the ability to get this kind of one-on-one time with them. While Sister is away, M. has time with just his Mama, and it is an extra special time, much like the nap time hours or special trips and activities E. and I have together. For all the frustration and exhaustion I experience on a daily (well, hourly) basis, this is truly a magical time.

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