What’s in a name? (Three short stories)

Many years ago, the school where I taught adopted two rather large pet bugs.  Each class was assigned the task of naming one bug, and the older group picked “Tickler Tom” for a moniker. The younger group which consisted of two- and three-year-olds, looked around the room for inspiration and started choosing names like “Plant,” “Dirt,” and “Window.”  Finally they settled on “Fish” and the bug was named after one of the creatures swimming in our tank.   Tickler Tom and Fish delighted children at that school for several years.

Fast forward to this fall when we found a rather large caterpillar on the playground.  One of the children wondered if it might be a Monarch butterfly and another child promptly named the caterpillar “Monarchy!”  We later found out that it was a tomato horn worm which became a pupa while living in our classroom bug jar.  We have kept Monarchy nestled in a container of dirt in our fridge in hopes that she or he will hatch into a moth this spring.

Finally, just the other day we found some brown beetle-like bugs on our porch when walking out to the playground.  Three children walked in  with me to get our bug jar, and on the way , this bug chose to jump off the child’s hand, not to be found.  We continued to the classroom and collected the bug jar anyway, and on the way back found the bug which had been  camouflaged by the brown door mat at the bottom of the stairs. 

It was promptly decided that this bug should be named “Blend-in” (not to be confused with Brendan!), “…because he blended in with the rug!”  Blend-in was examined carefully by all and then set free on our playground.