Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tales from my Google search history

I search some random things on Google. Just this morning, I found myself typing, "Do caterpillars poop?" into my search bar. You see, I am antsy about this homeschool thing. I can't seem to stop myself, even though my kids are obviously too young for formal education (unless we lived in France or Japan, in which case, Scout would be right on target, starting preschool at age two). Anyway, because I am a giant nerd lifelong learner, when her Papa mentioned that he saw some monarch caterpillars in the cornfield yesterday and wondered if she might want him to bring one up to the house for her, I jumped at the nerdiness opportunity. We've been reading Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar a lot lately (thanks, Kristi!), and I knew that this would be a great way to tie science and reading together, to really make the story come alive for her. Papa was kind enough to bring up the caterpillar in a peanut butter jar, and B picked some milkweed for the caterpillar to eat and a long stick for the chrysalis to hang from. I remember doing all of this when I was in third or fourth grade. What I didn't remember, apparently, was the poop.

Oh, the poop.

So much poop.

At first, we marveled over the caterpillar. (We really ought to name him/her/it so that I can stop referring to it so formally all the time, or at least use a gendered pronoun. However, knowing Scout, she will want to name it "Caterpillar" or something similarly vague, in the same way that she has named her pink stuffed elephant "Pink Elephant" and her small stuffed monkey "Small Monkey." I blame Blue's Clues, with it's Green Puppy and Purple Kangaroo.) We were fascinated by how quickly it ate through the milkweed leaf, how much it ate in one go. It was all very thrilling ... for about 15 minutes. Then, Scout being two, and me being me, we got bored and wandered away for a couple of hours.

ETA: We have settled on a name. Scout has decided it is a boy caterpillar, and his name is Fish. I don't decide these things. I just report them.

The caterpillar's Fish's jar is right beside the table where I do my work. I looked over a little bit ago and was terribly confused by what I saw. There appeared to be little bits of stick in the bottom of the jar. "Now, how did a caterpillar manage to break off pieces of the stick?" I wondered. "It has no thumbs or limbs of any kind, really. It has been on the leaf this whole time and has not even ventured onto the stick" (so far as I knew because I wasn't really paying attention, if I must be honest). Upon closer inspection, I decided that the "bits of stick" really looked more like mouse droppings. In fact, I thought as I held the jar right up to my face, they looked exactly like mouse droppings. "How did mouse poop get in there?" I wondered. "Surely that can't be from that tiny caterpillar! Some of those are 1/4 his size! That would be like a human pooping something the size of his/her arm! Besides, do caterpillars even poop?"

At about this time, I decided I needed to call upon the Google to help solve the mystery. You know what I learned? I learned that caterpillars poop. They poop a lot. Some people on message boards were bemoaning their need to clean their caterpillars' jars every two hours. Welcome to the rest of my week. Good times to be had by all. I just hope this doesn't affect Scout's potty-training progress. "Why should I poop in the potty, Mommy? The caterpillar Fish doesn't poop in the potty!"

Anyway, after Googling "Do caterpillars poop?" and thinking, "Gosh, I Google some crazy things!" I decided to take a look through my search history to see some of the other random things we've been curious about in recent weeks. The following is a(n obviously non-comprehensive) list:

1. "Who's playing Reed on season 2 of The Fresh Beat Band?"
There are so many things that I didn't know I would ever want to know until I had children. In case you also were curious, it's this guy. I don't like him as much as the old Reed. The least they could have done was pick another Irishman. They might be kids, but they aren't dumb. They know that this is a completely different man. (Btw, If you had told me when I was a teenager that I would one day have a preference for one children's show actor over another, I would have laughed in your face.)

2. "What is a wench?"
Scout wanted a pirate birthday party. I wanted to make sure this term was not, in fact, synonymous with smelly pirate hooker before using it on her invitations. Turns out I was right - It just means girl pirate. Unfortunately, I still think the common misinterpretation/connotation makes it unsafe for a children's party.

3. "Are there fireflies in California?"
I don't remember the context for why I wanted to know this. I knew/know that some states have them and some don't. I guess I couldn't (still can't, actually) remember which ones are which. All I know is here in PA, we've got tons.

4. "How did Salvador Dali die?"
Again, I think this one was mere curiosity. I was watching something which made me think of something else, which reminded me of Little Ashes; one thing led to another, and the next thing you know, I wasn't sure whether he'd offed himself or died of cancer. (Neither, in case you were curious. It was heart failure. He was 84.)

5. "Are Sarah Paulson and Monica Potter related?"
This one is easy to remember (because it was two days ago). I was watching Parenthood (Hooray! It's Fall! New TV is back!) Tuesday night, and I thought they looked and sounded so much alike (and even had similar mannerisms). I determined that they must be related. As it turns out, they are not. However, I did learn this fascinating bit of trivia.

A look through your Google search history just might provide a creepy (albeit intriguing) cross-section of your daily life. What does your search history say about you?