For The Love of Worms

This post is dedicated to my dad on Father’s Day because he once forced me to hold (in my hand!) a worm.  He had hoped to cure me of my acute Verminophobia, but merely succeeded in making it worse.   It’s a good thing I don’t hold a grudge!

When I first started teaching my gardening class,  I quickly noted that nothing was more interesting to all three groups of preschoolers than bugs…long, slimy, wiggly bugs in particular.  (Some people would say that worms aren’t technically bugs, but they would be wrong.  Anything that crawls around on the ground and creeps me up is a bug. Go ahead…look it up)

So, being the kind and self-sacrificing person that I am, I took a deep breath and went ahead with my plans to have my young students create a Worm Ranch.   I diligently gathered the materials, saved table scraps for worm food and looked up any information that I could about those loathsome  fascinating creatures. 

The day before my class, it dawned on me that I was going to have to supply some worms as well.  There was no way I was going to dig for them myself, so I started hunting for places to buy them.  I asked if they sold them at the hardware store when I bought my cement.  I was told that they didn’t carry them, but to check at a gas station.  (A gas station?) Noting my confused look, the young man assisting me went on to inform say that it Gas Stations by a lake were the best. (Yeah…that really cleared it up).  I decided that the kids were just going to have to find their own worms.

On a whim, I stopped by the little convenience store right next to the lake.  There was a big sign in the window advertising that they sold bait. I’m pretty sure the clerk in that store had never seen someone so excited to buy bait before.  When I brought my little containers of worms up to the counter his eyes opened wide and he mouthed “four?”  Not in the mood to explain, I simply told him that I was extra hungry.  I have no idea what he thought when I asked him where the soap was. (That poor man will never be the same again)

The preschoolers had a great time creating habitats for the worms.  Soon it was time to introduce them to our wiggly guests.  The squeals started when I dumped the mass of squirming nightwalkers on a piece of damp newspaper.  The children  screamed with excitement and the grown-ups with dismay.  As the kids observed the worms, the parents asked anxious questions about the care and feeding of their children’s new friends.  There seemed to be an awful lot of questions about how easily an earthworm could escape as well.


I almost hate to admit it, but there was a small part of me that enjoyed the discomfort these adults felt over something as beneficial  and harmless as these simple little earthworms.  (Not that I was going to touch one!)

Now that I understand how silly it really is, maybe…just maybe…it’s time to forgive my father for torturing me with a worm all those years ago. 

Not that I would ever hold a grudge or anything…

(Happy Father’s Day Dad.  Hurry up and get here!)

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25 Responses to For The Love of Worms

  1. Oh yeah, I would have loved my kids bringing that home from preschool! About as much as I love the snake that found it’s way into the house and now has a $75.00 habitat AND a big appetite for live mice.

  2. Hilary says:

    I understand the feeling. For the past few years, I’ve been enjoying fishing for the first time in my life. I enjoyed it a lot when my hook was loaded for me. Eventually I had to bite the bullet and hook my own half-worm “like a big girl.” I managed with minimal shuddering. This year I’m concerned that he’ll make me tear it in half myself first…

    Very brave of you to present such a lesson to the kidlets when you’re fearful. Good for you!

  3. Peggy says:

    Well done for overcoming your fear of worms.

    Sadly I do not fear worms or other things like that. There would have been no place for me in school if there weren’t people like you to run screaming. You see, I was that kid who would chase others with a worm (or snake).

  4. Becky says:

    You are TOTALLY cracking me up today.

  5. Heather says:

    Yay for you! I’m not sure I could do that. Whenever my daughters find a worm in the dirt they scream excitedly, “Look, a wormy! Isn’t it cute!” I try my hardest not to let my disgust for the slimy little creatures show.

  6. Susan says:

    Jenn~Don’t you think that snake needs a friend? teehee

    Hilary~Tear them in half??? Those poor wormies…

    Peggy~Now why doesn’t that surprise me??

    Becky~Oh sure, laugh at my misery.

    Heather~Sometimes it’s really hard being a mom isn’t it? Good for you for not letting your girls know how horrible worms really are.

  7. I still don’t like to touch worms, but I love finding them in my garden because they are so good for the soil. If I’m pulling weeds or whatever and I find one stuck in the roots or the clump, I’ll shake it out and return it to the garden. But it creeps me out when I’m kneeling there and one slithers across my skin. Go figure.

  8. Rebecca says:

    Yum… worms. 🙂 Did you ever read the book “How to Eat Fried Worms”? I did tons. I never ate one, fried or otherwise.

  9. Busted says:

    If it’s any consolation, my dad didn’t just make me hold worms, he put me personally in charge of them on many a fishing trip, and dubbed me the “worm wench” and “bait bitch” (all affectionately, of course, and these are some of my favorite childhood remedies). Nothing more attractive than a fat, tomboyish, nine-year-old being forced to bait hooks for her 16 year old brother and father.

  10. Cheryl says:

    I wouldn’t want to touch worms on a regular basis. Well, not at all really, but I do if I need to move one when I’m gardening. I wonder if I could buy some to put in my garden. I think you’ve given me an idea. Thanks Susan!

  11. Jocelyn says:

    Dang, but you are doing justice to this class! I don’t want to hold worms on purpose (I don’t mind it when I’m wrist-deep in my garden, but I don’t want to pick one up off the sidewalk and dangle it), but I want my children to want to. Weird, that.

  12. Patsy says:

    So did you break out the plastic gloves to handle the worms? and of course you don’t tear worms in half – you are suppose to use kitchen shears. And never go outside barefoot after dark after it has rained.

  13. Pavel says:

    Oh, h*ll no… I don’t think I’ll ever touch one of those thing, ON PURPOSE.

    You are a brave one to sacrifice for your students!

  14. Susan says:

    Ruth~you gotta keep movin’ when you are outside. Those worms like to make sneak attacks!

    Rebecca~It’s been years since I’ve read that book. It was a fun one. (psst…Shaun’s eaten a worm!)

    Busted~Somehow, I don’t think I would’ve survived childhood if I had to be the worm hooker. *shudder*

    Cheryl~The red wigglers are supposed to be the best for gardening/composting.

    Jocelyn~Of course we always want better for our kids…even if it is just in the form of liking worms!

    MOther! Um…thanks for the advise. 🙂

    Pavel~But you are a guy…aren’t you supposed to just like holding creepy crawlies? *Big Grin*

  15. Jodi says:

    Now THAT was a great post! What a great story.
    Here from NCLM!

  16. Candelaria says:

    Worms are creepy and beautiful – so essential to our soil and fishing, etc.
    Your students are lucky to have a teacher who will push beyond her fears to create something so wonderful and alive for them.

    You’re getting a teacher-of-the-month award for your sacrifice.

  17. Brigindo says:

    Great post. It reminds me of one of my favorite memories with my son. The was a toddler and it was a rainy yucky day and the two of us were climbing the walls (him literally, me figuratively). So I decided we’d go out for a wet and sloppy walk in the park. I can’t remember why but we veered off course and lifted a large rock under a tree. Yep loads of worms. We had a great time digging and holding and finding something to cart them home in. I still don’t like to put them on hooks though.

    Here from NCLM.

  18. Deb says:

    Not being a typical girly-girl, I like worms. I like to fish and have no trouble baiting my own hook.
    You should be proud that you set aside your own fears/feelings to do that project.

    And yes, you should feel bad for laughing at me and the hubby fussing. Bad Susan, bad girl!

    Posting some pics now of the finished product.

  19. Wendy says:

    Oh, this was both hilarious and disgusting. I don’t mind worms…except when you’re digging in the garden and accidentally cut one in half and the worm is unaware of it. But the photo of them there all together in one gooey mass will haunt me forever. Thanks! 🙂

  20. lupuspie says:

    I’m actually a big fan of worms. My husband thinks I’m nuts because I’m constantly “rescuing” worms that have stranded themselves on the sidewalk or patio. OK, maybe I’m a little nuts. 😉

  21. Kristi says:

    At least your dad didn’t make you break them in half so that you could save money on bait like my Grandpa did!

  22. Jessica says:

    I can handle worms on a limited basis, but snakes….AHHH!!!! I seriously can’t handle them. I’ll only touch a worm if I have gloves on, I don’t like how they feel in my hand. I give you a lot of credit for doing a project that you so greatly detest.

    Here via NCLM.

  23. Lisa's Chaos says:

    When I was a kid I didn’t mind worms but now that I’m grown I do not like them!

    It sounds like you made a lot of kids happy though. 🙂

  24. Amanda says:

    What a cool project for the kiddos, and how brave of you to face your fear of the creepy crawlies!!!

  25. Karina says:

    Awww…what a sweet (uh…yeah, okay, maybe not sweet) tribute to your dad. hahaha…

    Too cute.

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