Monday, April 05, 2004

Today's episode: Girl Meets Worm

Just how fast can an eight-year-old go from squeamish, shrieking, worm-hating sissy to devoted worm caretaker and condo-builder?

In about the time it takes her to see that her two-year-old sister is gleefully hogging all the worms.

I was extricating some weeds from a patch of land in which I'm determined to grow something purposeful this season. The girls were enjoying the spring sunshine and jockeying for position on our tree swing.

"Hey, come look at this!" I called to them, shaking a small earthworm free from the roots of a weed onto my gloved palm.

Youngest was the first on the scene. "What?" she called in mid-run.

"It's a worm!" I said, holding it out to her. "Look!"

She did look, peering with suspicion into the hand I held out to her as Oldest trotted up and looked over her shoulder.

Oldest made a face and backed away. "Ew!" But Youngest was intrigued. She giggled as she watched it curl and unwind.

"Do you want to hold it?" I asked.

Following her sister's lead, Youngest backed away and started to whimper.

"Oh no, don't worry." I said to her. I have fond memories of digging up worms as a kid, and I was not about to let a little apprehension get in the way of a cool, wriggling earthworm. Childhood is not complete without it. "Worms are friendly. You can hold them on your hand. Like this, see?"

I took her hand and gently turned the worm onto it. She squealed and laughed.

"Now don't squish him," I said, as she ran back to the tree to rejoin sister and show off her fearlessness.

In about five seconds, Oldest was back kneeling beside me. "I want a worm too! Can you find another one? Are there more? Can I hold them?"

The two girls took the care of their worms very seriously, constructing a complex dwelling out of leaves, twigs, and grass.

I was proud.

No comments: