From the Editor
Published: Thursday, March 8, 2012
Updated: Friday, March 9, 2012 11:03
I was crawling in the dirt the other day with my three year old godson. We were digging a hole, and we stumbled upon a grub, a milk-white larva. It was probably of some garden variety of beetle, and it was curled into a ball beneath a root. My godson, curious as a monkey, prodded it with a twig and watched in fascination as the little larva stretched out and squirmed.
"Arielle, what is that?" my godson asked.
"It's a grub, and you woke it up," I replied.
"Grub," said my godson, trying out the new word.
And then he surprised me.
"Arielle, why does grub sleep in the dirt? Where is grub's bed?"
So I explained why grubs don't live in houses, and that most animals sleep in the dirt. We spent the next 20 minutes or so flopping around on the ground, imitating the little worm.
The next question was harder.
"Arielle, where is grub's mommy?"
I was stumped. How do you explain to a small child that this deaf, sightless little worm was deposited as an egg, and emerged from the confines of its embryonic haven alone, where it then thrashed and flailed its way beneath the earth for protection? Where was poor little grub's mommy? Why do beetles have to have bad parenting skills?
I settled for the briefest explanation possible.
"Grub's mommy buried him in the dirt to keep him safe," I said.
"From monsters?" he asked.
"Uh … sure."
And that was that. Grub's mommy buried him in the dirt to keep him safe from monsters. For the better part of the next hour, we buried toy cars, an army man, some twigs, a palm frond and, before I managed to rescue it, my cell phone.
After briefly entertaining the fear that my sweet little monkey may one day grow up, have children of his own and bury them in his back yard, it occurred to me how much children notice that adults miss.