Meeting the family

My niece and nephew, Ruby (age 4) and John (age 5), came for a sleepover on Friday night. I introduced them to my lady beetles, the two that have not yet succumbed to the vacuum cleaner or the pull of the world that awaits beyond the patio door.

“I have a lady bug living in my apartment,” I said. “Actually, two of them.” I hoped they would be as impressed with my beetles’ longevity as I am.

“You do?” John gasped, eyes wide. I love how everything is a revelation to kids.

“Yes, one lives in the lamp and the other is in the kitchen most of the time,” I said. I pulled down the lamp to show them the beetle who was crawling around the rim of the shade.

“We have lady bugs in our house, too,” John says. No big deal, I guess. So much for impressing them.

“Do you still, or did you this summer?” I want to know. He assures me they are still alive.

“They have a habitat,” John informs me. He says “have-i-tat” through his missing front teeth.

“They do?” I ask. “What does that mean?”

“It’s where they live,” he says. “In the habitat.”

“Don’t they live outside?” I ask.

“Yep,” he adds, taking a bite of a chocolate muffin.

“Then why are they inside?” I ask.

“I think they want to go outside,” he says.

“I think you are right,” I say. “They sit on the door to the patio, and sometimes when I open it they fly out there.”

“They probably want to get back to their habitat,” he says, and I wonder where he learned that word.

“I think in the summer, when it’s warm outside, they will go back and find some worms to eat,” I say.

John nods his head in agreement and then asks if he can play with the cat’s hummingbird toy. We’re done talking about the beetles, for now.

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