Monday, September 15, 2008

I Have a Pill Bug

My son is an animal lover as most children tend to be. He adores our neighbor's cats and likes petting dogs as they walk by us - as long as their owner is in agreement.

We had a tadpole at our house about a year ago, which sadly died. He and his father have a beta fish which they look after at their house but I wasn't so sure I needed a replacement pet, especially since I travel fairly often and am not able to commit to the daily care that having a pet requires.

My son mentioned that their school guinea pig, Sneakers, is able to go home with a different friend each weekend. I assumed he would want to sign up to bring it home during the school year so most likely Sneakers will make an appearan
ce at our place in the next few months.

At the playground over the weekend, my son picked up a pill bug and immediately created a blanket and sleeping place for her (he claims it's a female) and spoke to her in a loving and - dare I say - motherly manner.

Illustration by Kiyoshi Takahashi
from I'm a Pill Bug,
written by Yukihisa Tokuda

So, when he asked me if we could bring her home, I could not resist. Of course, I had to search his overflowing bookshelves for the copy of I'm a Pill Bug that we had read many times after first bringing it home.

In the book, the pill bug narrates the story and explains the science and nature behind these roly-polys, which some people refer to them as. I used the last few pages to emphasize what was needed in order to care for our new pet: soil, cement and water.

So far, so good. The pill bug (a.k.a. Moochi Moochie) is doing well. We spritzed her with water a few times during the day and provided plenty of moist dirt and small leaves from outside. Of course, the book does explain how important it is to bring the pill bug back outside near the fall since they like to stay close to their family.

I have a feeling my son will be ready to let go at that time. He's not quite ready for the real responsibilities of having a pet but this experiment is a good one for us both.

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