Meet Bill. Bill likes kids. Bill likes our kids. Our kids really like Bill.
And, now, I really like Bill, too.
Bill’s a praying mantis. I met Bill Saturday. I brought Bill inside to meet my family. We had a great time. We decided to keep Bill.
We bought some crickets for Bill. We spent $1.80. Those crickets lasted all week. For Bill.
But we look for other special treats for Bill, too. We gather flies, spiders and moths. The other day I saw a cricket in a parking lot. I tried to catch it. But it’s tricky to catch a wild cricket with bare hands.
Our boys like to pet Bill. Bill doesn’t like that.
Bill likes to watch the boys. He has gentle eyes. He turns his head like a robot. He likes to listen. His thin antennae are strong and trustworthy. His legs are quite agile. He has a curvy tummy.
Bill likes to walk around in James’ long curly hair. He likes to catch his own food. He likes it when we feed him with tweezers, too. Today he ate a piece of cat food.
He crawls on walls and windows. He’s pretty much your ordinary praying mantis.
Last night Bill laid an egg sack in his tank. In a few weeks, if he’s lucky, Bill will be a mother to a few hundred babies.
Four-year-old Henry already knows that the babies will eat their siblings, if they don’t get enough fruit flies.
Oh, Bill. She’s a good mantis.
My wife found another praying mantis tonight. He’s somewhere in the house now. I don’t know where. We will keep them away from each other. He will sleep in a cardboard box tonight.
Because if they mate, Bill might bite off its head afterward.
And how will we explain that to our boys?
The new mantis is much thinner and, unlike Bill, enjoys flying respectable distances. Overall, he’s much more active. Almost like he’s looking for something. Or maybe even someone.
Oh, Bill. Have you been praying for someone?
And just as I’m typing this, my wife comes across an article, during her research, which says a mantis dies after laying its egg sack. Though maybe not right away?
Oh, Bill. We’re praying, too.