This morning was a very fussy morning for my toddler. He fussed about getting dressed, about going potty, and about eating. He fussed about his friend coming over for a play date and sharing his toys, even though he’d been looking forward to the play date all day yesterday. He fussed at me about pretty much anything that was happening all day.
As the play date was ending, we walked his friend and mommy out to their car. Since we were outside, my little guy noticed that we needed to put more food in the bird feeder, so we did. As we were filling the feeder, he noticed a worm crawling on our walk way. “Look Mommy! A worm!! Can I get him?” he said as he picked him up. We marveled at the worm a little and then I said, “Be very careful with your worm and be very gentle with him.” “Ok Mommy!” my little one said as he ran off with his worm in hand.
I finished filling the bird feeder and straightened the hose and some things around the yard as my little guy took the worm around the yard and showed him various things. I overheard him explain to the worm that he could not crawl in the road, but he could ride in his little car. I saw him carry his worm and put him in the cup holders of his cozy coupe. I saw him show the worm sticks and leaves. Then, he came over to me and showed me that “Uh oh Mommy, my worm broke! Can you fix my worm Mommy?” He had pulled off one tiny bit of the end of the worm. “No, Mommy can not fix the worm,” I answered. “You just have to hold him very gently.” “Ok, Mommy!” said my little one, and he was off again.
A very short time later, my dear toddler came back to me with worm segments squished all over his hands. “Mommy my worm is squish!! Mommy fix my worm!”
“I can’t fix your worm. Why don’t you wipe the pieces on the grass and we’ll go wash hands. We have to wash our hands if they have worm parts on them.” “Ok Mommy,” he responded as he wiped the parts on the grass and then followed me inside for hand washing.
Since we had made it successfully inside and it was lunchtime, I started the process of cleaning up the mess from the play date and fixing lunch. The entire time my little one followed behind me as I walked from room to room and was whining (in his most whiny voice), “My worm squish! I need my worm! Fix my worm! My worm squish. I need him!” Feel frustrated, I replied (in my not nice Mommy voice), “I can not fix your worm. You squished him. He is gone. You need to stop whining. That’s enough.”
“But I miss him!!!” came the response from my son, in almost tears. I knew I needed to change tactics. I put down the dishes I was carrying and squatted down to my son’s level. “I am sorry you are sad about your worm,” I said as soothing as possible.
“Yes, I am sad because he was be-you-full,” my sweet boy said, his eyes brimming with tears. My heart melted.
I offered,”It’s ok to be sad about your worm. But now he is in worm heaven. We can not fix him, but we can say a prayer for him. Dear God, please take care of my worm. Amen.” My sweet boy came into my arms for a big hug, and then walked over to the refrigerator magnets. “Yeah, Mommy, sometimes worms squish and sometimes Noahs get sad.”
He makes my heart smile.
Thank you, Worm, for being my little boy’s friend today. Thank you for giving your life to his exploration. And thank you for helping me to remember how important it is to cherish the little things. You were beautiful worm, and so is my little boy, even on a fussy whiny day. Thank you, Worm, for helping me remember that.