Tuesday was the first day of school. Not only was it the first day of school, it was also the day that the first big project of the year was handed out.
The Bug Project of Doom (Okay, I added the “of doom” part, but the bugs, that’s all the science teacher, who’s clearly a fucking sadist. But more on that in a bit.)
So for two hours today, I helped Corwin catch bugs (read: squealed and pointed) and so did Killian and Brynn’s oldest son. They were awesome. Well, except for the part where they scared the hell out of me with this HUGE ASS SPIDER. And they discovered for themselves what kind of freak I am. I’m pretty sure the neighbors thought I was being murdered. The boys felt bad and hugged me. Apparently, they’ve never heard me make that noise before.
This is the evil spider… It’s in a sandwich container and it’s spider-y butt is about the size of a nickel. Too damn big in my opinion. Two words. Satan’s Snowflake.
But I digress. So the boys collected other bugs and sealed them in their tupperware containers. Luckily, they found seven of the ten required. The spider was a bonus. An evil bonus.
Before I tell you this next part, you need to understand something about Corwin. He’s really softhearted. When he was little, he wouldn’t step on ants like his classmates, he’d protect them and try to build elaborate houses for them out of leaves and sticks. He’s got the biggest heart of anyone I know. He loves animals and can’t stand to see anything or anyone mistreated. Today, I learned that that love extends to bugs, too.
Part of this damn assignment is to kill the bugs so they can be mounted on a board and displayed for a grade. The methods are freezing and a cotton ball soaked with nail polish remover. Well, I don’t wear nail polish, so there’s no remover in this house. So freezing it would have to be.
I knew there would be a problem when he said to me from the backseat, “This grasshopper looks like he’s thinking ‘I get to go home after this, right?'” The commentary about the grasshopper continued off and on on the way home and by the time he had to put the bugs in the freezer, he was really upset about having to “murder them.”
I was torn between telling him we’d just deal with the bad grade and he didn’t have to do it and worrying that that would could turn into a habit of avoiding difficult tasks because he doesn’t want to do them. By the time we made it home, most of the bugs were dead because of lack of oxygen. But not that grasshopper. No…of course not. He had to put it in the freezer.
We both realize that the coming autumn would have killed these bugs anyway. But that’s different than being the one to do it. I get that 95% of 8th graders could care less about freezing a grasshopper to death. But then there are the 5% who want nothing to do with taking a life. Should they be made to? Did I fail him as a parent for not speaking up in time and saying, “Fuck the project.”
I think I might have.
All I know is that I have a sad kid who’s racked with guilt and keeps looking balefully at the freezer.