I cannot overemphasize how grateful I was for the first real warm-weather day. The afternoon was made for outside play, and after being cooped up for months without much chance to hang out comfortably in our yard, my children were itching to get out and enjoy it.
They were clawing impatiently at the door as I gathered our snack to take it out to the porch, all jabbering at once about what they were going to do. The girls were particularly excited.
I'm going to ride my ladybug bike.
Well, I'm going to ride my bee bike.
Well then, I'm going to ride Sam's blue tricycle.
No, I want to ride Sam's tricycle!
Well, you can't. Because I am riding it.
I knew if I could just get them to back up enough to get the door open, they and their overexcited, angsty arguing would simply spill out into the afternoon sunshine and be blown away on the delicate breeze that was clinking the wind chimes.
As the door opened and they poured forth onto the porch, something terrible happened.
Nora saw a dead earthworm.
She might have just decided to examine it and poke it with her finger, as she does most things, had Lucy not spotted one at the exact same time and begun shrieking in terror.
Once the hysteria started, there was no turning it back. They would not step near the dead worms. They would not look at the dead worms. They covered their eyes and ran, screeching, around the carport, intermittently crashing into each other and the much-anticipated, now-forgotten ride-on toys. It was total mayhem.
Sam, ever logical where the Sisters are concerned, tried to help them. "Look, just walk around them! They're dead, they're not alive, they can't hurt you...Look, just sweep them away with your foot! Use this broom..."
And finally, "See? They aren't even slimy," and he picked one up, moving it in Lucy's general direction.
Both girls screamed as if their skin was being peeled off, as if the sight of the poor, shriveled worm had simultaneously melted all four of their eyeballs in their sockets. The sobs and shaking were unlike anything I can remember.
We had no choice but to go to the backyard, where there is lots of grass and no pavement for unfortunately drowned earthworms to mummify themselves in the sun.
There is no place for using ride-on toys, either...so the ladybug bike and the bee bike and even the sought-after blue tricycle stayed parked.
Yesterday at lunchtime, Lucy expressed her hatred for ants ("They're disgusting,") and flies ("I never want to see one looking at me ever again- they should all get squashed right now").
Nora emphatically nodded.
We could be in for a long summer.