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These Are My Children

With our unseasonably warm weather
we’ve been deluged by mayflies, insects that look like
extremely large mosquitoes. They’re everywhere. All this to
preface the following conversation from a couple days ago:

Cora, the four-year-old: “Mommy, can I please have a
snack-sized plastic container?”

Me: “What for?”

Cora: “We’re catching mayflies and are saving them up
to give to the cat in a few days as a present.”

Me: “You’ve caught mayflies
before and just given them to the cat to eat; why do you need the
plastic case?”

Cora: “We want to catch a BUNCH over the next several days
and give them to her all at once.”

Me: “You know the mayflies will die in the container,
don’t you?”

Cora: “We know. That’s ok. I’m sure she’ll
eat them dead, and this way we’ll have a bunch. Maybe a week
or so of saving up the mayflies and she’ll have a

Me (pictures of roaches and flies coming to feast on the dead
insects): “No. You may not keep dead mayflies in the

Cora: “Why not?”

Me: “Because the dead carcasses will attract other animals
that eat dead animals, and I don’t want THOSE kinds of
animals in the house.”

Cora runs away to the next room and says to her sister Maddie:
“Mom said no. We can’t keep dead mayflies because
they’ll attract scavengers.”

Maddie: “Like what?”

Cora, thoughtfully: “I guess like Tasmanian Devils, since
they eat dead carcasses.”

Maddie, scornfully: “No, there are no Tasmanian Devils in
North America! Hey,” she continues brightly, “Turkey
vultures are indigenous to North America! I bet the dead mayflies
would attract turkey vultures.”


Maddie, in a dangerously thoughtful voice: “Hmm, I’ve
always wanted to see a live turkey vulture . . . “

This is my life.


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