I’m not sure when he joined us, but for the past week at least, we have had a cricket living somewhere in our house. Since he was practically invisible, and I happen to like cricket noise, I told Yitzchak that we should let him stay. After all, he is harmless, isn’t he?
Cricket stayed. When Shlomo sat on the toilet last Thursday night (at 10pm, if you were wondering, but he asked to make a poop, so we kept our mouths shut), he asked what the noise was. I told him it was a cricket, and then he went to look for it – to bang the wall and tell him to go out. I explained that the cricket was nice, and we could let him stay. And so, Shlomo decided that the cricket was nice and could stay. After that, every time he heard the cricket, he got excited.
Well, this morning I saw a bug on the floor in Shlomo’s room. I didn’t know what it was, but it was a huge black bug. Not having Yitzchak beside me, I stepped on it, despite my misgivings and worries that it might be Cricket. After I smushed it, I felt bad – almost certainly, this was Cricket, but by then it was too late. Here I note that even though I love cricket noises, I had never actually seen a cricket in real life, and I had always imagined them to be green. I have a brother-in-law who is a entomologist; bugs are not my thing, though, and I was never interested in looking at them.
When Shlomo’s bedtime rolled around tonight, I mentioned to Yitzchak that there was a smushed bug in Shlomo’s room. Yitzchak went to check, and indeed, the smushed bug of this morning was Cricket.
I felt bad, and Shlomo was sad. He wanted to see Cricket. He saw him, and said, “Remember when I hit the wall? He’s not moving.” He wanted to hit Yitzchak, because he thought it was Yizchak’s fault. When I came to tuck him him, he asked me over and over why I smushed Cricket. I said I had made a mistake and thought Cricket was someone else. We were both sad together.
And now he wants another cricket. Hopefully, we will be able to find one. I’m not sure, though, how far we are actually willing to go in order to find a replacement. Mostly, I asked if he wanted to find another one just to make him feel better. But I never actually promised we would actively search.
I can’t believe I actually suggested my son adopt a pet bug. For that matter, I can’t believe we are all mourning a cricket. He wasn’t a pet or anything . . . he just happened to be in our house for a few weeks.
But maybe he was a pet, because we came to really like him.
One thing is sure: The lesson that Shlomo learned from being nice to Cricket, and from seeing that he was a victim of a smushing mix-up, is probably worth having another cricket in the house.
I think my animal-mercy has gone a bit far, though. I had mercy on the pigeons and let them stay outside our laundry room window. Now, in return, I find feathers on the floor of the laundry room and bathroom . . . every single day. Gross. And they sometimes manage to hang on to clothing and are transferred to other rooms. I think we either need to invest in a screen for that window, or I need to work on encouraging the pigeons to find another home. How to encourage them to find another home, without encouraging Shlomo to yell, bang, and scare birds, is going to be a challenge, though. And it is this challenge – of teaching him empathy towards other living things – that caused me to have mercy on the pigeons in the first place.
In the meantime, crickets are harmless. If another one comes to live in our laundry room, we will happily welcome him.