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:
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.