This morning I was feeling somewhat lightheaded, so since my husband has some flexibility with his work schedule, he drove for us to pick the girls up from preschool. We waited in car rider line, the girls were buckled in their car seats, and off we went toward home. We have a mini-van, and K and M are in their car seats in the two captain’s chairs, while MJ is in her booster on the back seat. As we’re driving down the road, MJ says, “Hey, Mama! Look what I found!” She is forever picking up things like snail shells and acorns, so I figured it was more of the same. Then the words...
So, I turn around to see her holding a wiggling worm, dangling there in her grasp--not a huge worm, probably about an inch long or so. I’m not one of these women who is scared of all things crawly--some things, but not all things. I don’t object to my kids playing around with crawly things that don’t bite. (And I have become quite used to the fact that our oldest has some tomboy tendencies.) I do however object to said crawly things being in my car or in my house. So, I did what we moms sometimes do in these situations...
I looked at my husband and said, “She has a worm! What are we going to do?”
In his innately calm way that he has in these situations, he said, “See that big grassy spot up there? We’re going to pull over, and she’s going to let it go.”
At the news of this, MJ started to get upset. We started reciting all of the reasons why the worm would be better off in the grassy spot, including mentioning that if the worm came into our house, it is likely that one of the cats would try to eat it. She wasn’t fazed...still upset.
So, now we’ve pulled off onto a grassy area next to the main thoroughfare in the town where the girls’ school is located. (If you are local, you will know the thoroughfare of which I speak.) I get out with her, and she drops her worm into the grass. All the while I’m telling her how much happier the worm would be there than at our house and how it can dig down in the dirt and find food to eat, etc., etc. You get the idea. So, the worm crawls off, probably much relieved with the idea of freedom.
Then it starts...
the utter meltdown.
“It’s in the sun! It’s gonna diiiiiie!”
“I want my Wormie!”
“I miiiiisss Wormie!”
“I loooove my Wormie!”
So now, the crawly worm has a name, and it is her favorite pet, and we’ve just made her let it go. At first, it was a little humorous, I have to admit. Then the wailing continued. The gigantic tears were falling. I felt like the most horrible mother ever for making her give up her pet worm.
Definitely the most unique ride home from preschool we’ve had in quite awhile.
Then it kicks in...the adoptive parent thing, “Oh, no! Have we triggered abandonment issues in our child by having her let her worm go?” It sounds ridiculous, I know, but stranger things have happened, and it is always there in the back of your mind.
The wailing continued until we were almost home, and by then it was just big tears and sniffles. As we were getting close, I heard from the back seat, “ I need a hug” in a very pitiful voice. Of course, as soon as we got home, she got her hug.
And that was that.
We have heard nothing else from her about Wormie, other than to find out her teacher did not know she was bringing a worm home, and me telling her that it was fine to play with them, but she could not bring them into the car or the house.
I think we can safely say that this was a case of a little girl who was distraught over getting rid of what--at that moment--was considered a favorite plaything. And I don’t think we’ve triggered any lasting trauma. It seems that this was a typical, high-strung 5 year old girl meltdown.
And thankfully it is over...
And the story of Wormie will live for posterity.