Saturday, May 24, 2008

Of insects and girls

Apparently, it's cicada time here in my home county. A few years ago, Cincinnati had its cicada invasion but it wasn't so bad out here in the 'burbs. Not only have the news types talked about it, but I've seen literally hundreds of cicada holes all over the yard in the last couple of weeks. Yesterday, the first cicadas were spotted in our yard.

Aren't they cute?

I actually like the cicadas. They are supposed to only come around every 17 years. They're compact. And there's something compelling about those shiny red eyes. They just seem like happy bugs.

Of course, the girls started their whinging about them and I asserted to them through clenched teeth that we were not going to give the twins any ideas about them because, to be quite frank, I didn't want to deal with the histrionics. So I took some photos and we admired them but left them alone. As I told the twins, "We have to leave them alone so that they can go up in the tree and have baby cicadas. Because that's what bugs like to do--have babies."

And then we proceeded to plan and execute the plan for Abby's birthday sleepover. You see, about every five years or so, Abby decides to throw herself a party. When she turned three, she was apparently miffed that she didn't get a party, so she began to ask everyone she knew (mostly people in our congregation) to her 4th birthday party. I remember one of them looking at me and asking, "Didn't she just have a birthday?" I told him yes, but that she was planning ahead for the next one. None of us thought she'd retain any memory of this party but she worked on that sucker for the next year. And yes, we did have a party for her when she turned four. Sadly, she fell asleep as all the guests were arriving and was quite grumpy for the actual party.

When she announced that she wanted a party for her 9th birthday, and that she wanted it to be a sleepover, I groaned inwardly. I may have groaned outwardly, I don't know. Having one little girl spend the night can be very fun. Having a bunch of girls between the ages of 7 and 9 spend the night sounded not-fun to me. And when she started inviting random urchins, ahem, I mean girls from the 'hood, I was not at all pleased. It sounded like we were going to have a free-for-all rodeo of estrogen going off in our living room.

What saved us was that the girl next door, who is all of 2 days older than Abby, was having her slumber party the same evening. That party drew most of the neighborhood girls, bar one. The rest of the party consisted of two little girls who've spent the night with Abby (and vice versa) and one friend from her enrichment classes who had wanted to spend the night. All good. Except that the one neighborhood child seemed to need to either be the center of attention or needed to cause turmoil amongst the general populace. After what I thought was a surprisingly nice evening, a fracas erupted at about 1:30 AM. Now I'm not all that happy about having a brouhaha in my home during the waking hours. I was less than thrilled to get to be the referee at that time of the morning, especially since one of the girls was crying and there was a great deal of finger-pointing in the arena. I told all the other girls to be quiet and go. To. Sleep. NOW. And I talked to the other little girl.

The formerly-crying little girl and I stayed up talking for about an hour, at which point I told her that I was old and needed to sleep and she also needed to sleep. She turned over and started sawing logs. I went back to bed, feeling very old indeed and wasn't able to go to sleep until after 3.

It was not pleasant when everyone started waking up around 7.

Once the girls were up, I pulled a couple of them aside to get the story on what had happened the night before and got a more complete picture of the situation. Friend Husband heroically cooked 3 batches of waffles & pancakes for breakfast and we went out to enjoy the achingly beautiful spring morning. Me and about eleventy million children.

You see, I had our 4 slumber party girls plus 4 of my 5 children, plus a toddler from next door who was over to play with the twins, plus the toddler and kindergartner from the other neighbor who Rachel was babysitting. It was a circus. I'm glad that they all got along well, but I will admit that I was watching for trouble with a gimlet eye. The girls seemed to have made up, for which I was glad.

Friend Gina's Daughter is always so kind to Keziah. They have big times together.

After a much-needed nap and a restorative game of Pack Rat, I went out to attempt to make gardens out of the mucky clay which is the basis of my front yard. Keziah and David were out with me and Keziah found a pile of cicada shells beneath one of our massive oak trees. She took me by the hand and led me to them and we looked at them and talked about the cicadas for a brief moment. As I was turning to go back, I noticed what I thought was a shell starting to move. As I looked closer, I realized that it was a cicada that hadn't shed its shell yet. I was all excited, thinking that I'd get to see one molt, but no, it was just heading inexorably for the tall oak we were standing near. In short order, we located three more. After watching them (and yes, photographing them), Friend Husband and I gave them a boost up onto the trunk and watched them crawling up. It was quite amusing for an amazing amount of time. Maybe we were just too tired to do anything else.

This guy was actually coming out of his shell in the grass but hadn't finished as he was making his way toward the tree. See the 2 sets of eyes?
Cicada races!

Oh, I forgot that I was going to post pictures for Friend Gina of my massive window cleaning. While we were getting the house spiffed up for company, I finally decided that I could no longer tolerate my kitchen window being dirty. This was a big step for me. I had been looking at that window get progressively nastier for the last three years and had done nothing about it. I just didn't have the umph to tackle the job. Since I finally decided I'd had enough, I thought this was a good sign. Unfortunately, three years' accumulation (and resultant petrification) of June and other bugs was rather nasty. To wit:
And a nasty close-up for the perverse in nature:

And, finally, the end result:
Much nicer indeed!

So I'm leaving now to ponder the inexorable mystery of why females are so catty at any age, and why I like the bug-eyed cicadas but don't like the bugs in my window.


Leigh said...

Today's puzzle, for me, is to figure out how you open that kitchen window! Don't misunderstand what I'm trying to say because I like your window, love that shed you have out back, and think you have a beautiful, green view. I just can't figure out how that window opens. Maybe that's a storm window??? Does it open up and down or does it open outwards? And what is the piece in the middle from which you cleaned the bugs?

Leigh said...

A 3 1/2 car garage and I called it a shed! What an idiot - me, not you. I'm sorry but no one in my neck of the woods has a detached garage, but I remember that where I grew up and where my grandparents lived in Missouri, most of the garages were like yours. For the record, I'm laughing too at calling it a shed!