Lasker Pool

Lasker Pool
Central Park, summer 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Bee Story

Does this creature belong in my house? I think not.

Jesse brought a pet home from camp yesterday. Unfortunately, I didn't realized it until 10 pm, when I sat down at my desk and heard a strange sound. Bzzzz. Bzzzz.

Yup, he brought home a bee, squeezed between two plastic cups--with one cup sitting in the other, so the poor little creature had about a quarter inch of space in which to move and breathe.

I was absolutely speechless.

"You brought home a bee? A BEE? Into the house? And carried it on the bus all the way from camp? (It's a 45-minute ride on a cushy, air-conditioned bus) WHO thought this was a good idea?"

Jesse didn't seem to get the incredible dopiness of bringing the bee home. Apparently, neither did three of his counselors. When I asked him if anyone knew precisely what he was transporting on the bus, he ticked the names off on his fingers: "Annie, Nelson and Abby."

I calmly (not really) explained to him that bees don't belong in New York City apartments, that they don't make good house pets, that they sting, that we had nothing to feed the bee with and that it would probably not make it through the night.

Noting penetrated. "Mom, why are you yelling about this? His name is Jackie Robinson," Jesse replied. "And he's cute."

Now, I knew Jesse had developed some bee-catching skills at his out-of-the-city camp, because he'd told me he'd become the bee champion of Group 41. I actually meant to call the camp and ask why the counselors were allowing such a dangerous pastime (especially when we're spending mucho bucks for Jesse to experience more, um, enriching activities), but apparently didn't get to it quickly enough.

So, here we were, exhausted and cranky, with a bee in a plastic cup. I packed the boys off to bed, put a couple of holes in the cup so Jackie could breathe and went to sleep.

The next morning, as expected, J.R. was suspiciously still. Jesse cried when he spotted the tiny corpse. "I'm a killer," he wept. "Poor little Jackie Robinson."

He made a cone out of paper and slid J.R. into it. "I'm bringing him to camp to bury him in the lake," he said. "I'll bring him back to his home. I should, because it's all my fault he died."

I really felt for Jesse as he learned this difficult lesson--that thoughtless actions can have life-altering (or life-ending) consequences. But he bounced bac quickly, his remorse short-lived.

Tonight, the paper cone--on which he'd written "RIP Jesse's Bee"-- was still on my desk. "I forgot," he said with a shrug. "Can I have dessert?"

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