Posted on 14/Jun/2014

The other night it all started when my youngest daughter wanted to catch lightning bugs; neat, fun summer thing to do. I’d plop down on the comfy chair underneath the ceiling fan, behind the screened porch that overlooks the then freshly mowed lawn. I’d read, drink coffee; whilst the children frolic about capturing fireflies.

Do your children ever leave you dumbfounded? Thinking huh, wh, wha, what the what?
Anyway, so, before making way to my comfy, cozy chair; I gathered up jars, poked holes in the lids. The little one flies out the back door with purpose in her step; on a mission.
Now, it is Mama’s relaxing time; I’ve got my coffee, I’ve got my book. Ah, just about… just about dupa to chair, but, no wait, can’t, I’ve been spotted, and then, the little one, “Mom, mom, come look, you’ve gotta see this.”
The excitement coming from her was way better than any book; so, down goes the coffee and the book, and out the door I went. Notice I did not say better than coffee; I tease, sorta. Nah, ha. Seriously, she was super excited about the habitat she’d made… she had leaves and berries and small twigs; way cool, barely enough room for the fireflies.
I was thinking, ut oh, that looks more like a home for keeping, not catch and release, eeewww, and um, I’m not really down with keeping them captive, I said, “oh, wow that is the most impressive firefly habitat I’ve ever seen, and I’m sure they’ll love to stop in for a quick visit, but not like an extend-a-stay… you’ll let ‘em go, give them back to nature, where they belong, so they can fly, fly with the wind.”
No, she had zero intentions of giving them back to nature; nope. She wanted to keep them for pets, you know, so they could light her room at night.
Instead of just crushing her by saying, no, you cannot keep the ‘lil things captive, get over it. Done and done. I begin to explain, talk about it, try to reason with a six-year-old on a subject I know nothing about in presence of my nine-year-old who knows a little about everything.
I say, “what if you capture a mama bug and the mama bug can’t get back to her baby bugs? Or, what if you capture a daddy bug who is out foraging for food, and then he can’t get back to feed his babies…”
Sounds legit, right?! Well, wrong… The nine-year-old, “Actually mom, the female firefly stays low to the ground, so unless she is crawling around on the ground, I don’t think she’ll find a female. It is a male who flies above ground, and, he only lights up to attract his species, he just does that to mate with a female, he isn’t flying around looking for food to take back to “babies” and just so you know, they are not called babies they are called LAR-VUH. ”
I am not smarter than a third grader; obviously!
I stood there schooled on the subject of firefly, incredibly proud, happy dancing, thinking, she loves to read, she loves to read, and a little laughing on the inside, also thinking, what the hell… man, this kid of mine is part schoolmarm.
The lesson did not stop; oh no, she continued educating me, “Mom are you aware that the lightning bug is actually apart of the beetle family?”
“No kiddo, I did not know that.”
“Oh, and Mom, do you know what is used to make red food coloring?”
“Nope, I do not.”
“Well, you will not believe it, it is really, really gross.”
So, I was like, “okay, well then, I don’t wanna know…”
So, of course, that automatically means that I am in the need to know… “Mom. Grounded. Up. Beetle.”
I googled it… Eewwww. Yack. Ack. Long live the beetle!
Moral of the story… oh goodness, whatever, just drink more coffee, and, note to self: do not buy anything with red food coloring.