Susan's Blog

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My Very Happy Catepillar

Come climb with me, up the Metaphor Mountain.
Drink from a simile fountain
Where children are soda pop and sasparilla
and then they moult like a catepillar

Some people just bubble over you with their thoughts in a constant stream, fizzy, clear, and satisfying. Sprites. Others leak out drops here and there, almost always a surprise, but always worth contemplating. I know that I am in the first category, and Ned is in the second. It is funny to me to see where my children fall in the Thought Bubble Spectrum.

Benj, more and more, is a Bubbler. He seems to be springy, noisy, and full of music these days. Ever since the summer, I have noticed him morphing from prickly green catepillar (down to his perpetual camouflage pants and camouflage hat) into a butterfly. (This is funny to me, because right now his class is studying catepillars and butterlies. Ben revealed this to me the other day in typical Ben fashion, saying suddenly that he “hopes Cheesepuff will live.” But as usual, Eminently Wise Mommy proved a sham, and had to ask who the heck was Cheesepuff. Cheesepuff, it turned out, is the remaining catepillar in the classroom exhibit. No one knows what happened to the other two. Mr. C asked the kids to describe the situation, and Ben’s theory was that Cheesepuff ate them. He reasoned that Cheesepuff was “constepated” from his feast and was, therefore, not moving. He then drew a comic illustrating the whole drama.)

Ben is happy, (knock wood), and there is no doubt about it. The more obvious changes are that he doesn’t hate school, he is no longer rude to adults, he is flexible, he does his homework dutifully and well, and he actually goes outdoors during recess and on some playdates.

Less obvious yet absolutely clear to a Discerning Mother’s eye is the way he seems to float. He bounces, literally, from the stairs onto the floor every morning. He does flips onto the livingroom couch. He climbs up the doorjambs. He is happy.

Why? I have my theories, complicated and tangled. I don’t dare to write them. Who really knows why their children improve and leave their husks and fly? Sometimes we just have to sit back and watch.


A parent’s work is preparatory. When your child leaves, and does well, it means you’ve done well.

— added by Jeff Gitchel on Thursday, September 18, 2008 at 9:21 am

You know, that’s why I stopped eating catepillars, the constipation was murder. Lisa

— added by Anonymous on Thursday, September 18, 2008 at 11:54 am

Hmmm…I have a theory. I would not dare put it in print either. It seems like he no longer feels if he always needed the freedom of a lack of posted schedule. Maybe. -Tina G.

— added by Anonymous on Friday, September 19, 2008 at 12:30 pm

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