How to challenge the sanity of your mother

I discovered this praying mantis egg case recently in Pasadena, CA. I find about one per year, so it’s always a happy moment of discovery.

And… I always remember the first one that I found… in the middle of winter in a snowy field in Michigan. I was about 10 years old and so excited to find this… something… I wasn’t sure what. I brought it home with me and combed through my books until I found out what it was. Really?! The egg case of a praying mantis! WOW!

Of course I kept it. In my room. Soooooooo cool! My mother asked me about it and I calmly told her with absolute confidence based upon no factual information whatsoever, “Don’t worry. The babies need months more to develop. I’ll just take the egg case outside in the early spring."

I was soooooooo wrong. The babies hatch dependent upon temperature. So it was still late winter when I heard my mother scream. Climbing the wall of my bedroom were over 100 tiny praying mantis!

The sad part was that I had no way of taking care of these minuscule creatures, each one only 1/4 inch long. They all died.

A wise man was asked, “How do I stop making mistakes?"
The wise man replied, “Experience."
“But how do I get experience?"
The wise man replied, “By making mistakes."

I’d like to say that this was the first and only time that plans went awry when I brought nature home. But… a LOT of the creatures that I carried into my bedroom escaped. Frogs, snakes… lots of snakes, mice, birds, turtles…

My mother finally set a rule that snakes over 3 feet long had to stay outside. That was surely a wise move.

Thanks for all of your patience, Mom, and sorry about the gray hairs I gave you.

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