It was about 8 pm on a Wednesday night when I realized we had a house guest. I saw a praying mantis clinging to the ceiling in the kitchen when I looked up from making Thursday’s lunches.
I pointed out the praying mantis to Stephen and we decided to let him stay inside until the next morning when we could show him to Liza. Then, we thought, we could escort him back outside using the handle of our fly swatter.
Thursday morning, Liza, being the excellent bug lover she is, thought he was awesome. The mantis did not think climbing onto the handle of the fly swatter was awesome, however. That’s when we found out he had wings. He moved to the window over the sink and began meditating.
By Friday morning, he was starting to turn brown. I thought maybe it was from hunger. I still didn’t know how to get him back outside.
Friday afternoon, I had an idea. I called Jon at work and asked him to go to Animal Trax and pick up a clear critter box and some worms before he got to our house for dinner. He said he would do it as long as I wasn’t serving the worms for dinner.
Ashley promptly named him Grue.
I dropped a worm into the box and Grue pounced. Liza stood and watched, enthralled, at our tiny predator in action. She spent most of the weekend sitting at the dining room table watching Grue in the box like most other kids watch tv.
Saturday morning, he was bright green again, I guess from all those free tasty, tasty worms. Sadly, he didn’t eat anything on Sunday. We decided on Sunday night he needed to go back outside Monday morning.
As he flew away, Eli said, “I miss Grue already!” in his particular sad-Eli way.
As we finished our morning activities, I told Stephen that I saw a lot of critters in our future named Grue.