With each class period, my love for Dumpling grew and grew.
He won't hurt you.
He's been here since Christmas vacation.
He stays up by the lights and never even comes down by people.
You can only repeat those phrases so many times before that little (nasty) moth endears himself to your heart.
It wasn't just me. Even one fifth grader remarked "I normally don't like bugs but I love Dumpling!"
And then we found out Dumpling had a love of his own, Honey Drop. Yes, one of my students noticed that there were TWO moths. Which only brought more questions. How do you know it is a boy? Which one is Dumpling? How do you know that's Dumpling and not Honey Drop? The simple solutions---"Miss Brown told me" and "Dumpling is the one that flies around. Honey Drop likes to sit and rest."
What happened next was magical. I had just told a room of crazy first graders that Dumpling had never touched anyone and then he landed right on me!
The students decided that he landed on me because he loved me. We did spend lots of time together. And amazingly, having preached a message of moth love to students for a few weeks, I didn't freak out at all. There was a moth on my shoulder and I was still as can be, trying to keep him there as long as possible so my TA could grab a camera and document this!
Me and Dumpling!
(Obviously this is Dumpling, not Honey Drop, because he landed on me. Honey Drop likes to sit and rest.)
The first graders couldn't stop talking about our mothy friends for the rest of class.
I wish I had a moth as a pet.
I think he eats the m&ms you give him.
I want to name him Bumpling.
I want to name him Shine because he likes the light.
If you say the moth's name, will it come to you?
Then the weather got warm. Just as my Chinese friend suggested, Dumpling only liked me for my warm classroom. Spring break came and went, and there went Dumpling and Honey Drop.
I miss the buzzing of their wings in the lights. The craziness that ensued every time they made an appearance. The fact that I had a class pet--me, the one who has a strong aversion to animals.
Our classroom gave our mothy friends a warm and welcoming place to spend the winter, and they gave us many smiles, a few shreaks, and lots of laughs on cold winter days.