After a stint of extreme hoeing yesterday I heard the boys squealing with excitement about something by some trees. I dashed over there to find them pointing at a little red ladybug with no black spots. It sounds like I'm having a mushy mom moment, but one of the great things about kids is the joy they can find in something that adults consider mundane.
We watched the little ladybug crawling on some weeds.
We watched him very closely.
And then managed to convince him to crawl on Aidan's arm and then watched him fly away.
Of course, having a ladybug fly away led me to the nursery rhyme about ladybugs, which you should know are called ladybirds in England (and lady beetles elsewhere).
Ladybug ladybug fly away home,
Your house is on fire and your children are gone.
Then it led to the fun questions of why is their house on fire, where did their children go, what does their house look like? So I looked into it and found out that back in the "olden days" farmers knew of the ladybug's value in reducing the level of pests in their crops and it was traditional for them to cry out the rhyme before they burnt their fields following harvests (this reduced the level of insects and pests) in deference to the helpful ladybug.
There are also some stories about it being related to Catholic priests being burned at the stake for not swinging the way of the Protestants. That was a bit much, so we left it with the farmers burning crops version. We'll leave burning at the stake for another time.
They say the name ladybug came during the Middle Ages when swarms of pests were destroying crops, so farmers prayed to the Virgin Mary for help. Soon after, ladybugs came and ate the bad pests and saved the crops. The farmers called these bugs, "Beetles of Our Lady" and they eventually became known as "ladybugs, ladybeetles or ladybirds," depending on where you live. I'm always amused by these stories and wonder how true they are.
On to some quick ladybug education for the kids. Since they're into it, I thought we'd run with it and slip in some learning while they weren't looking:
Enchaned Learning's Ladybug Page - This site has a ton of ladybug crafts and learning sheets. You have to subscribe for some of them and others are free. It's worth having a dig around if you're doing any ladybug learning.
Ladybug Lore - That makes me giggle. I love the smell of lore in the morning. Great site though including how to say Ladybug in a lot of other languages.
DLTK's ladybug crafts - Tons of free ladybug kid crafts from one of my favorite kid-crafting sites.