Sunday, 16 September 2012

Cricket song

Crickets are meant to be good luck.

I missed their song in England, but one month back on the llano has cured me of pining after crickets. Out here a gazillion of them engage in a nightly screaming banshee contest.

If crickets are lucky, my house is the luckiest home in human history. Every day, I discover a new house cricket stowaway from the outside. House crickets are twitchy and missing limbs, because it's a bug eat bug world out there.

Gather ye crickets while ye may. 
Ana, devoted stalker of fauna, found a house cricket last week. Being four, she scooped him up and promised to love him forever.

He was a reluctant pet at first, but after being plied with chocolate biscuits, he warmed to her. He eventually climbed up her arm to her shoulder, and here he stayed.

Ana continued to declare eternal love, so I quietly mentioned that her cricket was wild, and he would return to the wild. She would have to let him go.

"Look, he likes me!" she giggled, while my words soared over her head and smacked into the opposite wall (which is now coated in boring parental warnings).

Ana's cricket stayed through breakfast and lunch, happily binding his fate to that of the biscuit-giver.

Mid-morning, we went on a long family walk through fields of alfalfa stubble and fluorescent yellow sunflowers. The cricket perched on his girl's shoulder, politely listening to running commentary on lizards (good for soup), and celestial imaginary friends (accessible only by rocket).

I walked behind the pair and wondered why I'd tried to warn Ana, considering that science has repeatedly shown childhood ears to be incapable of perceiving parental words of caution. To compound the problem, engineers have been so busy constructing suspension bridges and the interwebs that they've not yet gotten around to designing a USB cable capable of fitting into human ears.

New wild pet candidate. 
Perhaps I tried to warn my child because - as my kindergarten teacher said all those years ago - I AM A WORRIER.

While I worried about this, the cricket vanished. Ana fell apart. She searched in vain for her lost cricket. She didn't want to hear me talk about wild creatures and the wilderness.

Then Papa said a very simple, very wise thing that really helped: "It's sad to lose a friend," he said. "And it's okay to be sad."

In five minutes she was up again, hunting for new wild pets. 

Ana is resilient. She gets over these things quicker than I do. Unfortunately there is no technological means for her to transfer this capability to me. Here in the year 2012, we have duct tape and sliced bread, but still no human wisdom USB cable.



  1. Oh poor Ana. It is indeed sad to say goodbye to friends :( I like the look of the new friend though, he looks like a bit of a slow mover too, so providing you're not in a pile of sticks, he might be easier to find?? :)

  2. Thanks for your sympathy Emma - the guy is a slow mover - mostly just hangs out in the same spot for days on end...which makes me think he be an actual stick.

  3. We have a cricket living in our garage. So annoying... Poor Ana! Glad she recovered. Could have been a far worse pet I guess... x

  4. Well you have a lucky garage then...but may need earplugs to sleep! How can one creature be so charming and annoying?

  5. I used to love catching grasshoppers when I was young, always letting them go of course! The only candidates we have in our house at the moment are huge black spiders. I'm managing to deal with the phobia, but I'm not quite at the level of coping with Baby Badger adopting them!