Sep 13, 2010

Our Grasshopper Friend...

Yesterday the Littler One had a fever, so the boyz and I stayed home from church (the Cat Daddy was on music team, so he went). Everyone's been asking if the Littler One is teething, and yes he is, but at the same time I couldn't be sure that teething was the sole cause of the fever. And it is generally frowned upon to take a warm baby into mixed company and declare "He's fine!" unless one is absolutely sure and has a notarized medical affadavit--or something--to prove it. Which I didn't, so we stayed home.

While I was disappointed to miss out on all the fun & fellowship & God-stuff, it occurred to me that going for a jog might take the sting out of being quarantined. Dr. Sears is big on the healing properties of fresh air for sick babies in many circumstances, and I'm big on fresh air for the prevention of neurosis in mommy-shut-ins. His Highness is not huge on the jogging, but with a little persuasion--and the promise of a playground visit--he can usually be convinced. It so happened we had one of those "flying saucers," where you pull the string and the plastic frisbee-thingy flies high in the air, and you chase after it and have all sorts of fun, so we agreed that he could bring it along to launch at the park at the end of our jog.

I must have been feeling extremely charitable, because we also agreed that Max, who snuck out the door as we were heading out and refused to go back in the house, could come along on the jog, and we would swing by and grab Zoe on the way to the park, since she likes the park but hates jogging.

After much leash-grabbing, and double-checking and baby-buckling, we were on our way. My current favorite route is an out-&-back, combined with a loop around a nearby neighborhood. About 3 miles total. We live in what I feel is a perfect area of town--our neighborhood is just off the last stoplight in town, after which one heads off into the still-rural parts. This particular route includes a dirt road, paved "Greenway" (awesome walking path), and the aforementioned neighborhood. Sometimes we encounter horses, cows, and/or goats, and most days it has little traffic so you can hear yourself think.

So as we hit the dirt road, the boys were being extremely adorable and humming along with the bumpy-bumps, and I noticed the plethora of grasshoppers jumping all over the place, dodging obstacles real & imagined, and so on. Suddenly His Highness said, "Look, I have a grasshopper friend!" A good-sized grasshopper (2 inches?) had hopped onto the stroller frame, apparently hitching a ride on our adventure. We have talked a lot about grasshoppers lately, so this was very exciting. We didn't think much about it until we realized that the grasshopper hadn't hopped off, despite another little grasshopper friend that had come & gone. His Highness put his hand out, which I figured would spur the little bugger off the stroller, but I was surprised to see it drop down onto His Highness's knee and stay there, facing forward.

So we kept moving, hitchhiker in tow. His Highness declared that the grasshopper liked him, and I couldn't disagree, seeing as how it was taking in the sights while sitting on his knee. We discussed why it might have chosen to come along with us, and why it had such big eyes, why it had tickly legs, and how His Highness was so gentle and not-twitchy, both of which are qualities of a really good grasshopper friend. Now I don't know much about grasshopper behavior, so my worst-case-scenario mind had to rifle through the possiblity that it might be dying and that's why it wasn't hopping off, and the less-macabre-but-grosser possibility that it could be getting ready to lay eggs, or excrete something or other on His Highness's knee, but I played it cool and assumed that the little creature really was just on adventure, maybe out finding himself like a college student backpacking through Europe.

We continued--the two kids, Max, the grasshopper, and myself--all around the neighborhood and back onto the Greenway, toward the dirt road and so on. We discussed what we would do if the grasshopper never jumped off, and (I) decided that if it hadn't jumped off by the time we reached the traffic light to cross back into our neighborhood, we would gently put him in the tall grass along the dirt road. Having seen a few too many Disney movies in my life, I pictured him singing his way through the grass in search of his family, and I hoped that it would be close enough that they would find each other without having to set off on any major treks or sing sweet & wistful songs by moonlight before removing a teeny beret or scallycap, and bedding down for the night with a lump of dirt for a pillow and a few blades of grass for warmth.

As we were approaching the end of the dirt road we also decided that, since he was such a good grasshopper friend, His Highness could be the one to conduct the grasshopper placement. But guess what? Suddenly His Highness called out, "He hopped off! My grasshopper friend hopped off!" And it was true. The grasshopper had jumped off, as much as I can tell, in very nearly exactly the same location where he had joined us to begin with. He went on his merry way and we went home and grabbed Zoe and went to the park to launch the flying saucer-thingy. His Highness was beaming away, tickled to death about our little adventure with his grasshopper friend, and to be honest, so was I.

Like I said, I don't know much about grasshopper behavior. His Highness and I make guesses about them hanging out with their families, but I don't know if that's common grasshopper habit, to form family units and stay close to them. So it is with zero authority that I surmise that the grasshopper might have stayed with us, hoping that we wouldn't kill it and hoping that we would return to where it had hopped onto the stroller so it could reunite with its family.

And maybe, just maybe, it sang a little song along the way...


Amber said...

That is the cutest little adventure! Thanks for sharing... you really have a knack for story-telling! And that is one very huge grasshopper! My Luke would've smashed it to smithereens, no matter how much I tell him we should be gentle with ladybugs, caterpillars, etc. (sigh)

Shannon said...

So cute! I am disturbed by the number of grasshoppers this year. But I was told they get to crazy numbers every four years or so.