On a walk last weekend, Vivi looked up at the sky to try to find the moon. She’s usually disappointed when she can’t find it, but this time, she did spot it, and was so excited that she yelled, “Noom! Noom! Play wif me?” This was hilarious, most of all for Vivi, who almost tipped over from trying to laugh and look straight up in the air.
While having a little snack at the downtown coffeeshop on Saturday, Julia discovered that she had an Asian beetle on her jacket. Deftly, she got the little bug to climb up on her finger, very proudly showing it to me and to Vivi and then watching with complete fascination as the bug wandered around her hand. She almost fell out of her chair when it suddenly extended its wings: “Look, it grew a tail!” “Actually, honey, those are its wings; it just stuck them out because it might be getting ready to fly away.”
The bug didn’t fly away, and in fact clung to Julia’s hand while we finished our scones, cleaned up our table, and then walked down the block to the library. Though I worried that Julia was going to accidentally squish the bug, she was immensely careful, ferrying the creature all the way to the library (a five-minute walk, when you’re with a preoccupied preschooler and a short-legged toddler) and even showing it carefully to Vivi whenever she wanted to see the “wady-buck.”
As we went up the steps to the library, Julia asked, in her “now announcing something serious” voice, “You know why I like this ladybug so much, Daddy?” I said, “No, honey, I don’t. Is it because it’s so little and cute?” She replied, staring at the bug, “No, I like it because it’s science.” On the way to the children’s area in the libe, I had to steer Julia around a few things that she didn’t notice, since she was holding her ladybugged hand about three inches from her face. Then, just as we sat down at the puzzle table, the ladybug extended her wings and really did fly away. Julia was so disappointed, I thought she was going to cry. But then she got very excited about trying to find the library’s bug puzzle. We never did it, but she’s been talking about “my Asian beetle” ever since.
A clear marker of the generation gap is whether you call this
a “ladybug” or an “Asian beetle.” <fogey voice> When I was a kid, they were ladybugs, and by gum that’s good enough!</fogey voice>