Friday, March 30, 2007

The shrieking. Oh, the shrieking.

So you're five. You're hardly a night owl to begin with.

You get a spur-of-the-moment invitation to spend the afternoon at a friend's house and by the time you're dropped back off, it's already pretty much bed time.

You join the family at the dinner table and sit and play with your food while alternating between laughter and petulance. You whack your elbow on the (concrete) tabletop, which helps ease you toward a decision regarding these two alluring states of mind.

You are jollied into pajamas and bed. Papi offers a story, but you want Mommy. Fortunately, she agrees to read to you. Inexplicably, two of the books in the pile by your bed were mentioned on a certain Italian blog just this morning, not that you know or care. You, in fact, choose one of them. Your dogs, though, are red.

The story read, you settle down to drift off to sleep (over an hour late) while Mommy reads to Robin on the other bed. For some reason we'll probably never fully understand, you decide that something over the edge of the bed needs adjusting, and that's when it happens.

You find yourself nose-to-nose with a spiky, three-inch caterpillar, right there in the bed.

The shrieking. Oh, the shrieking.

Fortunately, Papi has the wits to put you and your sister into the grownups' bed and suggest that, after defenestrating the interloper, Mommy might want to go look for a caterpillar story with a happy ending. Thanks to your indefatigable former-librarian grandmother, we just happen to have one.

You are engaged by the story and obligingly fall fast asleep the moment it is over.

Your sister, on the other hand, is a basket case.


mom March 31, 2007 5:16 AM  

I so remember buying that book.

It was one of the few children's books that I have purchased new at the shockingly high sticker price, but I couldn't resist.

Debbie and I were on a 48-hour get-away in Chapel Hill. We spent part of one afternoon at a charming arboretum, and this book was for sale in the bookstore. As I recall, I bought a Christmas stocking item for Lisa, too.

I'm glad Clara was available to comfort Julia in her hour of need.

Dad March 31, 2007 5:19 AM  

A delightfully written story. But I'll bet half of the pleasure was in being able to talk about your currently-favorite word, defenestration!


Jennifer March 31, 2007 5:36 AM  

That's one exciting evening!

Jennifer March 31, 2007 7:45 AM  

Actually, I went back and added the defenestration bit in after I had already published the post.

Erin March 31, 2007 7:52 AM  

Good thinking, Papi!

Thank you very much for the much-needed laugh this morning. :)

Sandy March 31, 2007 11:48 AM  

Looks like Grandma's work here may be done! We never know how what we do today will affect someone's life tomorrow. Woman's intuition never fails! Great going, Carol.
And to Papi...what a wonderful, loving dad to suggest such a thing.

Robin March 31, 2007 1:00 PM  

So how did you get her sister to sleep???

Love Bears All Things March 31, 2007 4:29 PM  

That is a wonderful story. I'm glad the incident witht he caterpillar turned out so well. But what a wooly one he was.

Jennifer, I have half of my templates cut out for my sampler quilt. I am so happy to have even this much progress. But I'm disappointed more of the patterns aren't innerchangable.

Laylabean March 31, 2007 11:50 PM  

Woah, that's a big caterpillar! My daughters would have freaked out too.

Jennifer April 01, 2007 9:58 AM  

So how did you get her sister to sleep???

Well, initially, I tried to make it clear that the caterpillar was gone, and that it wasn't going to happen again.

The only way I could imagine that it had even gotten into their (second-floor) room in the first place was that it had somehow been clinging to Alex's clothing. He had just gotten home from a survey job, and had sat on the bed in the spot where the caterpillar eventually showed up.

Granted, before that he had been sitting downstairs for an hour while we all had dinner, but it was all I could think of.

So I told Robin that the caterpillar had come all the way from where Papi was working in Limón (far away), and that there were definitely no others in there, and that now it was down in the yard, looking around and going, "Where's the beach?", which made her laugh even though she's never heard of Clara Peller.

So she settled back down (still in my bed), feeling better about things.

15 minutes later:

- Mommy!
- What?
- I'm worried about the poor little caterpillar. It's cold outside, and it's so far away from the beach.

So then I had to assure her that caterpillars can live anywhere.

And of course, I eventually realized that we had had some items out on the clothesline that day, and that Joanna had brought them in that afternoon. And even though the items were Alex's, she may have brought them into the girls' room at some point, and that's a much more logical way for it to have arranged to be present in Julia's bed.

However, I didn't share my new insight with the girls, because, while mitigating the caterpillar sympathy factor, it would also mean that the whole thing could (conceivably) happen again someday.

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