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Live Pets

Maybe you had a hamster. Or was it a guinea pig? Fat and furry and brown and white and a little smelly but you didn’t care because he was yours and that nose. So cute. Maybe you had a puppy. Lucky bastard. Me, I have sisters.

I did have a string of pets though:

dwarfhamsterlizard snakes

I even went so far as to get a job in a pet store when I was 15 and was fired, unceremoniously, a few days before I turned 16. I suspect it had more to do with the ability to pay a 15 year old under the table than it had to do with “hair in the cat’s water bowl.” Working Saturday mornings in a pet store gave me access to every variety of small furred creature, a fleet of parakeets, and a stack of box turtles. The wall of fishtanks always smelled vaguely salty and dank, the big goldfish casting baleful glares from bulging eyes. Nothing exotic though, nothing satisfying. Not when what I really wanted was:


My parents held firm and I settled for one aging black Lab after another and a kitten that couldn’t outlast the coyotes. Arizona is still the wild west, at least if you’re soft and slow.

Someone has given RR a Caterpillar. It lives in a tiny plastic cup, has its own Caterpillar Cake to munch and appears to be building a Caterpillar Chrysalis before our very eyes. This birthday party favor came with assurances that it was an ethical Caterpillar Company and that the charming fellow would become a Butterfly Native to the Area. In fact, it came with an entire Caterpillar Information Sheet. In a recent conversation with the other Caterpillar Mothers, the ringleader admitted she hadn’t considered what might happen if all of our new friends died unceremoniously before fulfilling their fate. Furthermore, no one has considered what exactly to do when there’s an actual Butterfly to release. It’s not a big cup.


there is only one in our cup thank goodness.

I figure, we’ll cross that particular invertebrate bridge when we come to it. I told you all that to get to this: RR and all of her friends say CALA-PITTER instead of CATER-PILLAR. You guys. Calapitter. Just imagine a huddle of four-year-olds giggling and waving plastic cups shouting LOOK AT MY CALAPITTER MAMA!

I may not dig having our very own pet insect but I very much love hearing this particular kid-ism. So if you walk past some woman on the street muttering calapittercalapittercalapitter then you should ask me out for coffee. Lord knows I need it lately.

Calapitter. Love.


7 Responses

  1. CALAPITTER! Indeed, love.

    • How on earth do you ever let these adorable things go!?!

      • The cute phrases? They become part of the lexicon – like punk-in-a-pie at our house. Sadly, the adorable four year olds eventually become teenagers and then it’s quite apparent how you let go.

  2. You document the adorable-ness, and when your baby is headed to kindergarten, high school, then college, you watch videos of them. My favorite of my baby: 1.5 yrs old, he’s crouched in a sink of bubbles and I ask him why he dumped all the hand soap into the sink. “I’m not interested of talkin, I’m playin in da bubbles!”

    Calapillar! I love it 🙂

  3. Delightful! One of my parenting boards had a thread about charming mispronunciation and it was amazing. What an age!

    Clem’s class is doing caterpillars and butterflies this week. The teacher sent a note out with the curriculum informing us that “there is a caterpillar making its way from class to class.” I’m sure she meant in a terrarium or some such but I can only imagine the scene of this fragile little creature inching its way through the hallways trying to avoid the raucous stomping of preschool feet charging from cubby to classroom to bathroom to playground and back again.

    Calla-pitters indeed!

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