Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Cricket Who Refused to Die

A few months ago, we had a few days of heavy rains that left our yard fairly flooded. On one of those days, we discovered a rather comatose-looking five-legged cricket on our front porch. Being that he stayed stationary for most of the day, DH and I assumed that he was on his way out and let him be.

Our eldest (the 6yo), on the other hand, for some reason became passionately attached to the cricket, and tearfully begged us to let him rescue the cricket and bring him inside. After some initial resistance, we decided to foster this spark of compassion for the animal world (his usual reaction to bugs is, "Can I squish it?"), and we arranged a box for the cricket and brought him in, expecting him to be dead by the next day.

But the cricket, against all odds, did not die - and so we found ourselves with a resident pet cricket! They are amazingly easy to care for - a cotton ball soaked in water, some fruit and vegetable scraps (raw, of course!), his favorite leaf for shelter, and he was set.

And then - tragedy!

The cricket escaped. We thought that he would be fairly non-jumping with one of his jumping legs missing, but we were wrong. The cricket escaped and landed on the floor - and in the recapturing attempt, his other jumping leg was lost.

Oh, crumbs. 

We were sure now that the cricket was doomed, and, sure enough, within a short time, he was on his back and not moving. DH flipped him back over, but we had to go tell the 6yo that his pet was gone.

And oh. my. goodness. This was the first time that we have had a child having to deal with the loss of a pet, and it took me completely by surprise. It is intense! My own reaction was something along the lines of "Oh, gosh. That's too bad. He was a cute little fellow. Well, let's go bury him in the back yard and get on with our lives." Our son's reaction, on the other hand, was something along the lines of "The end of the world is here." Half an hour's hard sobbing was just the beginning!

So, after an exhausting afternoon, I went back to the kitchen to get the baby's car seat.... and noticed that our four-legged "dead" cricket was now nimbly trotting about his box, munching on the odd lettuce leaf. Completely alive, needless to say.

Errrr.... Maybe we should have named him "Lazarus"!

At the very least, we should have made sure that he was really dead (rather than "mostly dead") before telling the 6yo!

Ever since then (about two months ago), "Jiminy" has been happily residing in his box. Most of us would not do too well having two of our legs torn off with no subsequent medical care, but he is fat, sleek, and quite happy. We feed him water and vegetable scraps, and he sits on the counter and watches the world go by. Thankfully he now is quite non-jumping, so while he gets around his box just fine, there have been no more escape attempts.

And the next time he dies, I think I'll go and get a quick replacement cricket to avoid the childhood death-of-a-pet hysterics!

Jiminy, pictured top left

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