Ode to a Caterpillar Snake

July 22, 2009

When I was a girl, I had a favorite stuffed animal – Wiggles the caterpillar.  He slept every night with me, and after my mom turned off the light and thought I was sleeping, Wiggles performed spectacular feats of gymnastics as I flipped him high in the air, again and again.  Once I even wrote a limerick in his honor, which won a poem contest in my dad’s Kiwanis newsletter.  I remember a lot of wiggle/giggle/squiggle rhymes.

Here’s Wiggles recently:

Striper

 
But his name isn’t Wiggles anymore, it’s Striper, and he likes to pretend to be a snake instead of a caterpillar.  Since he passed into Moo’s hands, he has rarely left her sight, once again enchanting a small child with his amazing dance moves and flips.  He speaks in a sort of Eastern-European snake-ese, with lots of drawn-out vowels and hisses.  He loves hot dogs.  He is an accomplished slitherer.  His favorite game is Hide-and-Suss. 

Moo (hiding Striper behind her back):  “Do you hear some sussin’?  Suss, suss, suss!” 

Mama:  “I DO hear some sussin’!” 

And then… Striper Attack!  Giggle, giggle, hee, hee.

We haven’t seen Striper/Wiggles in almost month.  One evening, I realized I hadn’t seem him in a couple days, so I started searching the house.  Then I looked in every tote bag, and then the stroller, and the car.  In the past three weeks I have asked, “Oh please, have you found a red-and-yellow caterpillar?” at Target (twice), My Gym, the library, two Starbucks, five grocery stores, and three restaurants. 

He’s just – gone.

God, I just hope he wasn’t tossed into the trash, or run over by a car – those thoughts break my heart.  That little caterpillar snake was loved – so loved, by two generations.  We keep telling Moo that Striper went on an adventure .  I just don’t know how or when to tell her that he’s not coming back, when I can’t accept it myself. 

Surely, at any moment, I’m going to hear some sussin’…

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6 Responses to “Ode to a Caterpillar Snake”

  1. Leslie Says:

    I think children are often like dogs in that they hide their prized possessions to protect them from other children or dogs…

    You may find Striper in a hole in the backyard maybe…

  2. Beth H. Says:

    : (
    good luck finding him. Come home, Striper!

  3. from the wings Says:

    I miss him too

  4. millie Says:

    This IS tragic. We have checked the bedding and the pack ‘n play as well as the toy basket and animal baby bed where Moo has all her things here. No luck. We are so sorry. Oma and Opa


  5. […] “What, Mommy, what?” and we all met in a tearful, huggy reunion in the hallway.)  Do you REMEMBER?  Remember how I asked at a hundred stores and restaurants and oh, also how I LOOKED BEHIND HER BED?  […]


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