Saturday night, Lisa, Harper, and I drove up to Bethesda to have dinner with a large contingent of extended family members -- Israelis, attorneys, Libertarians, etc -- and on the way, Harper said, from the backseat, "Whoah. I see a lot of caterpillars on my legs. A hundred caterpillars on my legs."
And, here's the thing: there was a moment, thanks to the steady irrationalizing process that parenting puts you through, when I actually thought, "Shit. Did I leave a box of caterpillars on the backseat? Is Tuffy going to be all traumatized a year from now because I let bugs crawl all over him while on the Capital Beltway?"
Fortunately, reason returned and a quick glance showed that this was some kind of new pretend thing he had going, some kind of new story he wanted to tell us.
A story that we promptly messed up by commenting on how amazing it would be when all of those caterpillars turned into butterflies. "No," he said. "I see a lot of caterpillars on my legs. Not butterflies."
Stay in the present, in other words. Love the present caterpillars instead of worrying about the future butterflies.