The Ladybird visitor reminded me of a story that I wrote several years ago now…
I was on child minding duties and I collected my three year old granddaughter from pre-school. As she packed her bag and put her coat on one of the classroom assistants passed me a sheaf of papers which represented various bits of art and craftwork that they needed to get rid of to make space for the following week.
As I rolled it up to keep it safe Molly announced that she had another present for me and started to dig deep into her coat pocket. I was expecting another masterpiece to add to all the others but eventually after a bit of foraging she produced a tiny ladybird. I asked where she had found it and she said in the playground at lunchtime and that she had kept it for me. I was certain the poor creature would be dead, either suffocated or crushed to death so was surprised that after she released it from her thumb and forefinger grip the thing began to crawl across her hand. She transferred it to me but as soon as it had adjusted itself to being in the open air again it took its opportunity and free now from its captivity it promptly flew away.
Molly was disappointed of course and I tried to explain why it had gone but it didn’t really matter because after just a few steps she found another one anyway.
This week she stayed at my house and we spent some time in the garden together. She likes gardening but not the insects that she occasionally comes across and the sight of a beetle or a spider or a worm will always be announced by a shrill shriek. Not so the ladybirds however and spent some time hunting them down in the shrubs, gently collecting them up and transferring them to a glass jar for safe keeping.
This intrigued me and I asked her why she didn’t mind the ladybirds but didn’t like the other creatures and she explained that she liked them because they are red and pretty and kind! I told her that a ladybird was a sort of beetle and not so terribly different to the black ones that we had recently disturbed under a stone but she just looked at me in a disbelieving sort of way and carried on collecting them up.