Watching our toddler flit from flower to flower like a giddy garden gnome stalking the little flying honey-makers, Lizzie and I have exchanged many a stressed look and repeated, “Why bees? Why did it have to be bees!”
Bees have been a wealth of lessons so far for Lucas (3yo). Lessons about nature, dependence, purpose, life and death, and that he should probably pay attention when we say something like, “It’s gonna hurt if ____.”
He first got stung last year in the backyard. I knew what had happened by way of psychic parent powers or somehow instantly decoding the length and pitch of his yell-crying. I scooped him up and saw the stinger, still stuck in the bottom of his foot. I brushed it off and somehow got the little poison dart stuck and pumping toxin into the center of my palm. Like a boss.
He’s always been fascinated by them. Or at least ever since he saw me, Lizzie or one of his brothers encounter a bee and perform the interpretive dance I like to call Lighting Strikes a Robot. Getting stung himself just fueled the fire somehow. You couldn’t really describe it accurately as a love/hate relationship, it’d be better called an obsessed/teriffied relationship.
More recently, we saw a bee crawling around weakly on the ground. The poor thing was probably drunk out of its mind on cell-phone tower signals like Science is reporting these days, or the thing was a geezer that just didn’t have another Flight of the Bumblebee left in his wings.
- “Wet’s put him owie his misewy.” Lucas suggested brightly, “He not fwying.”
After I finished laughing, I said, “Where did you hear that!?!” (It turns out it was Lizzie, ha ha!) “No no. Give him a chance. Bees make honey and help make the plants and flowers grow.
“Bees are good.” said Lucas nodding vigorously, and then added, “But dey sting. Weally bad. … Wet’s put him owie his misewy.”
Okay so maybe he’s just only getting started on the road to understanding these abstract concepts I mentioned.
Since that sting, Lucas is like a little bee-dar. His ears are fantastic; he can hear a pickle farting in another dimension (they do that in some alternate reality or other). His alarm sound “BEE IN DA HOUSE! BEE IN DA HOUSE!” goes off before any of us hears the first Z of a buzzing sound. To be honest any flying bug tends to be identified as a bee, but he’s getting more accurate.
Yep. He was zapped again last week. By no fault of his own, of course! No way he was responsible in aaaaaany way.
It’s kind of rad though. He IS starting to learn about the interrelationships of nature and growth. About a living thing working to produce something yummy. We’ve even taken advantage of his bee obsession to help support his bedtime, since bees retire to the hive when the sun sets. So bees are starting off a lot of big Life concepts for him. The lessons on Death are a little confusing though, since we’re constantly telling him that bees can sting you after they’ve died. Zombees!
Sorry! Couldn’t resist! (Commence tomato throwing now)
Yessireebob. Pull up a chair and sit a spell.
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Do it for the bees! They work so hard for us all.