Tuesday, June 05, 2007
It's the summer of the 17-year cicadas. Only there haven't been any in our yard. Or our neighborhood. Or, it would seem, our entire fair city. I know. My children have searched. High and low, under rocks and leaves, in every corner of our yard. The week the cicadas were supposed to have emerged they searched along the block as we went to school and in the school yard. No cicadas.
Then we dropped by their old preschool to register the uber-princess for next year. And, what luck(!), one of the students had brought in a cicada for each child in her class and there happened to be a few left over. So we looked at one. Buggy red eyes, huge, translucent wings and all. And it was...ugly! Completely ugly. Horribly, creepily ugly. So they wanted to bring it home. I'm a mean mom. I said, "no!". I didn't want to ride in a van with that thing, even if it was safely ensconced in a Dixie Cup with plastic wrap on the top. I saw those huge wings. And I knew if that cicada wanted to fly across the van and lodge in my hair, it would. I couldn't take any chances.
Once they got over their disappointment at not having a pet cicada, they just enjoyed talking about seeing one. They were especially excited to tell their Dad about seeing a cicada in person. But I couldn't help feeling at that point that they'd been gypped, not out of having a pet cicada, but out of the whole cicada invasion experience. Seeing one cicada in a Dixie cup, albeit an up close experience, does not equal the skin-crawling experience of seeing hundreds of them - buzzing in the air, crunching under foot, shaking the air with their loud chirping. My kids were missing out this time and now I felt bad.
So this week I took them to Dzedo & Grandma's house, right smack in the middle of 17-year cicada territory. And they had a blast. They went out in the yard and crunched over cicadas, watched them crawling out of their exoskeletons, heard them buzzing and humming loudly in the treetops. And they collected cicadas. Half dozen or so apiece (except for the uber-princess who just picked up one). They loved learning how to pick them up (by the two top wings because there are four and you can't grab the two underneath, or with a stick, if you'd rather). And Grandma was kind enough to give them each a plastic baggie to tie them in to take home. Some alive. And chirping. In...my...van.
This time I wasn't a mean mom. I knew how much it meant to them to bring home a part of the cicada experience. Especially a living part. A living, flapping, shrieking insect part. The driving was rough. I jumped every time one shrieked. Actually it was always the same one. He took to flapping his wings loudly against the bag too. But my girls assured me he couldn't escape.
And so we came to have a few cicadas in Naperville. Who knows, 17 years from now there might be hundreds. And my daughters will only have themselves to blame.