Can You Potty Train a Caterpillar?
Actually, I don’t know why I’m asking that question. The process is playing out before my eyes, even as I write this, as my sons gamely try to potty train their new pets: three furry caterpillars. I’m finding the whole thing rather unnerving, to be honest, as I flashback on my days of potty training my toddlers. I keep seeing myself, bedraggled and still chronically sleep-challenged, pulling up suddenly as I spot something strange happening with one of my wee creatures, a behavior or an attitude that suggests a ‘movement’ is imminent, then me launching into manic feats of strength and agility in my frantic desire to get that wee creature to the potty IN TIME. In my case, my wee creatures were triplet boys. In my sons’ case, the wee creatures are triplet caterpillars.
I think my boys have the easier scenario.
Potty training the caterpillars was not my idea. Neither was turning them into pets in the first place. The boys found the caterpillars at the park yesterday and for some reason I didn’t make them leave the critters there. “They can be our very first pets, Mommy!” my sons kept telling me, with such longing in their eyes. I expected this kind of thing when we went to Zoomars earlier this month with our triplet playgroup and the boys seemed to fall in love with the guinea pigs.
But they didn’t beg for guinea pigs. And they certainly haven’t begged for a dog. They begged for caterpillars. I caved. I let them take the caterpillars home, along with huge piles of greenery that the boys estimated would feed their new pets for at least a year. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that their caterpillars would be lucky to survive the night. Heck, they’d be lucky to survive the hour.
But they did survive the hour, and then the night. I’m certainly not responsible for their longevity. I didn’t wake up to give them fresh water six times last night as I was firmly instructed by my boys. Nor did I wake to feed them or take them to the potty. My days of night duty are over, thank you very much. Still, the caterpillars were crawling around their bowl this morning, and remain crawling even now, some ten hours later. I’m quite impressed by their heartiness. I feel a twinge of guilt now and then for letting my sons remove these delicate creatures from their natural environments, but then again, under the boys’ loving care, the caterpillars are well fed, well watered, and driven around in toy cars like kings in royal coaches. They’ve seen more of the world than most caterpillars their age. That can’t be all bad.
Plus, they’re almost potty trained. I dare you to name a single caterpillar EVER who can claim that.