We got 10 visitors for my daughter's birthday – caterpillars! Just like in The Very Hungry Caterpillar, these critters start out tiny as a pin head and are huge (in a small sense) within a week.
Then the calls from down the stairs begin, “Mom, one is in j-formation! J-formation!” So you watch and you think you will catch it spinning its chrysalis, but you get distracted and when you come back it’s all tucked inside its new apartment.
We observed all of the caterpillars do this. Well, not all. Not George. He just kept climbing around, maybe wondering why no one would answer his request to play croquet. Maybe he just wanted to be a little fatter. Maybe he was the shy one and enjoyed having a little space to explore without his sister giving him caterpillar wedgies. Maybe.
Or maybe George had a case of Metamorphosis Procrastination.
He would worry about not knowing how to make a chrysalis. “What if I accidentally do it upside down and then I can only fly with my head down for the rest of my life?”
He would shiver with the thought of being a pupa. “Pupa? Like I turn into Poop? Ack!”
George would declare, “I never wanted to be a butterfly anyway. No thanks. You guys fly around for a few days until a blue jay snaps you up for lunch.”
He would question nature. “But I’m perfect just the way I am. Lady Gaga told me so.”
This continued for two days in the quiet solitude of the caterpillar enclosure. I can’t imagine how creepy it would be to crawl in and out of the stoic, hanging forms of all his friends frozen in time. Alone. Surrounded by other caterpillars poo balls.
But this morning the calls rang out again, “George is in j-formation! He did it!!”
And I said, “But George, I thought we were going to hold out on this! Tell nature to shove it. We were going to explore the world together, me on my two feet and you on your, um 32 or something. Baby, you were born this way!”
George just said, well, he couldn’t say anything because he was all j’d up. Plus, he’s a caterpillar, and you know they can’t actually talk. But I think he would have said, “I was pretty good at being a caterpillar, but I will be excellent at being a butterfly.”
So what have you been procrastinating? Well, take George’s lead and get on it with it! (For me it’s writing my pitch for this weekend’s NJ SCBWI Conference…yay!)