The boy, five years old, had his hands deep in soft dough. “What do butterflies eat?” There was a butterfly cutter among the shapes on the table, likely the inspiration.
“From the flowers?”
Silence, a bit more kneading, pulling, twisting and squeezing. This kid has such high sensitivity to textures that it took three months of work with an excellent occupational therapist before he was willing to touch the dough, let alone let it squirt between his fingers. My work with him was reinforcing the OT work in the speech-and-language contexts. Children learn much better when their body is engaged.
“What do frogs eat?” He fingered the frog cutter, put it next to the butterfly one, compared their sizes, lightly pressed the edge of the frog shape into his ball of dough.
“Frogs eat mosquitos as well as other kinds of insects: flies and gnats and such.”
“How come?” I smiled.
“Because mosquitos eat people alive.” His big eyes hang on me, suddenly a little scared by his own repetition of words he’d heard, “but do they really eat people?”
“Not exactly, no. The female mosquito drinks blood for her food, but only a very little bit. It is very small and it doesn’t actually eat you.”
“Yeah, I would not want to be a mosquito.”
“Me neither!” Pause. “Frogs don’t mind, right?”
“Yep.” I can see another question coming.
“Who eats frogs?”
“Snakes do. Some other animals eat frogs, too, even some people eat frogs.”
“People!?” The munchkin was simultaneously impressed and repelled. “People don’t eat frogs, do they?” he turned to his mommy. Usually, I’m an acceptable source for information, but some things require a higher authority.
The mother nodded, amused. “In France they do. Maybe in some other countries.”
“Yuck.” he relished the word. “Yucky, yucky.” He twisted his lips in contemplation, and you could see the wheels turning in the little brain behind the hazel eyes and summer freckles. “But … frogs eat the mosquitos and the mosquito eat blood from people …” he let the question dangle.
I raised my eyebrows, waited.
“It’s like a circle.” He breathed. “It is everything connected!”
From the mouths of babes.