Over the last several weeks we’ve had a sudden influx of moths. They were everywhere. Outside, inside, in the car, everywhere. I didn’t get any pictures of them, but I should have as, evidently, the local department of agriculture has no idea what they are.
Well, life being what it is, after about a week of fluttery moth company, they started dying off. Dead moths everywhere. Unavoidable.
This is understandably hard for Fiona. She liked the moths. Any time we walked through a fluttery swarm of them she said it was a moth party. She was very upset that they didn’t keep flying.
Finally, she asked why one wasn’t moving. I stated, calmly and without emotion, that it was dead. It had lived its whole life and then died.
She looked up at me appraisingly and said gravely, “It needs new batteries.”
I laughed sympathetically, “Well, not really, Baby. Moths don’t use batteries. They’re alive. They eat food for energy and they live for a while and then they die.”
She pursed her lips a little. “We could feed it?”
“Umm…” I trailed off a little, “Once things that are alive die, they can’t eat. It was a really old moth. It had lived as long as it could. It was all done.”
She finally left the moth alone and came inside.
Death is hard to explain to very young children. I feel very lucky that we get to start the process with moths. I think that it’s going to take a while to tell the difference between things that have dead batteries and things that used to be alive.
She came up to me a while after we had come inside and said, “We could plug it in. Then it would be live again.”