A long time ago Charlie came home from school with a cute little worm named Wiggle Worm. It lived in a cup of oats on my kitchen counter and was supposed to metamorphose into a beetle one day. They only thing we had to do, according to Charlie, was give it a tiny piece of diced apple to eat every few days until it metamorphosed.
I thought this was fantastic! What a cool way to observe the insect life cycle!
Charlie was diligent about feeding Wiggle Worm his apple pieces but when mold started to grow on his oatmeal bedding, Ryan and I were the ones to change it out. That was about two weeks in and I was starting to get impatient, wondering when Wiggle Worm would turn into Wiggle Beetle and get released into the wild and out of my kitchen. So I dug the instructions for Wiggle Worm's care out of Charlie's backpack.
Imagine my surprise to learn that Wiggle Worm was scheduled for metamorphose in THREE MONTHS.
Well, I thought smugly, I'm sure something will happen to him before that. Three months in a plastic cup with a bunch of oatmeal and a piece of apple? Psshhhht.
But Wiggle Worm held on.
And held on. And held on.
Until one day when we thought he was dead. Poor Wiggle Worm. He wasn't moving and his back legs were missing.
Charlie was ecstatic. HE'S IN HIS CHRYSALIS!!!! I was dubious.
Wiggle Chrysalis remained on my kitchen counter because I did not know what else to do. We did stop feeding him apple slices though, seeing as he wasn't moving at all.
And then one day I took a closer look and noticed that Wiggle Chrysalis, though apparently dead, had grown a pair of enormous eyes. Creepy!
Charlie was jumping out of his skin with excitement. He took Wiggle Chrysalis to school to show his science teacher, who reacted appropriately and with great enthusiasm. Indeed, Wiggle Worm was undergoing metamorphosis! The puberty of the invertibrate world! This was great news!
Wiggle Chrysalis came home, where no doubt he would soon learn to roll his eyes and ignore my requests to clean up his room.
A week or so later, the changes seemed to be stagnating. I was not optimistic. I was starting to feel a little sad for Wiggle Chrysalis. I thought of ways to let Charlie down easy.
But when I came back from my trip, Wiggle Chrysalis was gone and Wiggle Beetle had taken his place! Hurray!
You can imagine Charlie's reaction. Hoo boy. Everyone we met heard the story of Wiggle Worm, now Wiggle Beetle. Strangers! Friends! Teachers! Grocery store checkers! Wiggle Beetle went to school in Charlie's backpack and met all of his friends! Charlie's science teacher was thrilled! It was very exciting.
So Charlie, I said one day, do you think it might be time to let Wiggle Beetle out into the wild (and off my kitchen counter, I did not add)?
No! I think we need to get him a bigger cup now! Do we have a bigger, clear cup with a lid?
We don't, sorry.
And so he remains, a not so cute inch-long beetle. On my kitchen counter in his little cup. Eating oats and apples all the live long day.
Until today. Today I was sitting at my desk when I heard a strange sound.
It sounded like an animal was in my junk mail pile.
I heard it again. Scratch-scratch-scratch. It was louder this time.
I checked Wiggle Beetle's cup. To my horror, the lid was off. And he was NOWHERE TO BE FOUND.
I called Charlie over. HELP ME. WIGGLE BEETLE IS OUT HELP ME FIND HIM HELP HELP HELP PLEASE!!!!!
We found him in the junk mail pile. Charlie got him back into the cup. What a relief.