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The Great Grub Incident of 2017: A Case Against Nature Items for Show and Tell

So it turns out that acorn grubs are a thing. I know this because some of these grubs joined our family at the dinner table this Fall in what will be forever known as The Great Grub Incident of 2017.

Let’s rewind to the beginning…

We didn’t know it at the time, but our adventure began when our daughter needed to bring something representing “Fall” for her “Sharing Day” in Kindergarten. Turns out “Sharing Day” is the modern way of saying “Show and Tell.” Like good parents, we took our daughter on a delightful afternoon exploration of our neighborhood searching for the perfect fall item. Scratch that. Like normal parents, we forgot about it until the night before after she was already sleeping.

My husband dutifully grabbed a flashlight and headed over to the cluster of oak trees across the street. He came back with a half dozen acorn shells – success! If only we had stopped there… Instead, as we looked out the window at the strong breeze, we decided to see if we could find some freshly fallen acorns the squirrels hadn’t yet collected.

So, back across the street we both headed. We were in luck! (Or so we thought.) After only a couple minutes of looking, we had a handful of acorns including the most perfectly picturesque acorn ever collected by two parents on the night before sharing day. After congratulating ourselves, we gave the acorns and shells a quick rinse (wouldn’t want any gross dirt in the house) and let them dry overnight. In the morning, we threw them in a Ziploc bag and sent them off to school with our daughter.

By my daughter’s slightly reliable account, sharing day was a success. Rather than leave her beloved acorns in the class discovery center for further nature exploration, she brought them back home. At some point, the bag was left on the end of the kitchen table, slightly hidden behind the napkins and salt & pepper shakers and forgotten about.

Now we fast-forward to nearly a week later…

It’s toward the end of supper when my husband noticed something in the middle of the table. He picked it up and showed it to me. It was a…grub. A tiny, white, wiggling grub. In the house. On my table. While we were eating.

Obviously grossed out, we tried to figure out where that one tiny grub would have come from. We looked up to the ceiling like it somehow dropped out of thin air. We ruled out the apple we had sliced. And then we found another grub on the floor. Then, another on the table. I was starting to panic and then noticed the open Ziploc bag of acorns six inches away from my plate.  We realized the acorns now had tiny holes in them where the grubs had chewed their way out. In a disgusting twist, the perfectly picturesque acorn we were so proud of had the most holes! 

My first thought was to pack everybody up in the car, torch the house, and head for Canada.  Instead, I Googled. The first hit that came up was titled “The Dark Side of Collecting Acorns.” What?!?! Needless to say, the title did nothing to ease my panic.  But I read on and learned more than I ever wanted to know about acorn weevil larvae (a.k.a. GRUBS!).  Most importantly, that the grubs were harmless and could not damage anything other than my sanity.  

While I tried to keep myself from losing it, my husband kept a level head and was meticulously inspecting the table and floor for more grubs (though I know the neat freak in him was screaming on the inside). When I told my daughter we were going to throw the grubs and the acorns into the ravine, she, (of course?) burst into tears. “But those are my acorns!” she wailed. Why do little kids have to be such hoarders? We comprised by storing the acorns in an ice cream bucket on the patio. The things we do to keep our kids happy! 

Another week has gone by with no sign of any more grubs, so I think we’re out of the woods (ha!). What did I learn from the Great Grub Incident of 2017, besides a science lesson? Don’t be too proud of your last minute sharing day solutions; the universe won’t hesitate to knock you down a peg. Also, be careful bringing nature items for sharing day, and always keep your Ziploc bags sealed!

What surprise “guests” have you or your children brought into your home?

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