Jatydid coaxed small Skylar to follow them into a greenhouse. The small child, coming outside for the first time, held their eye stalk up high. Each blink was slow, the eye swiveling, pausing briefly to study the rustling leaves overhead.
Once crawling over the threshold of the greenhouse, Skylar paused and waved their tentacles around. A bunch of clicks and clacks preceded a long whistle which Jatydid answered with their own.
Jatydid scooped up Skylar, placing them on their shoulder. “Now, it’s time for a few lessons.”
Jatydid showed Skylar the long green fruits of the bamama brushes, explaining how to use the thorns on the branches to rub off the irritating hairs on the otherwise wonderfully tasty skin. The clusters of yellow brineberries were too salty to overindulge, but packed with the punch of salts needed for their phenoglands to be at top speed. The wide clear star shaped leaves of the glass cluster vines were perfect for polishing beaks.
Skylar waved a star leaf around, rubbing their beak in the spaces between points in the leaves. Bits of dirt rubbed away, the pale blue color beginning to shine. Jatydid cooed and Skylar cooed back. After a moment of watching their child play with the stiff leaf, Jatydid noticed Skylar’s stomach flatten out and press up against Skylar’s skin.
Skylar’s eye dropped back to their skin, an eruption of tears starting to flow. Their cries filled the greenhouse. “It’s okay Skylar.” Jatydid reached out and carefully took the leave from their child. “It’s dinner time isn’t it?” Skylar nodded. “Come here.” Jatydid waved Skylar over to a planter box full of white huniimurkle blooms.
Propping Skylar up on the corner of the box, Jatydid started patting the ground with a few of their tentacles. Seeing a trail of dirt start to grow, Jatydid plucked a fat wriggling orange grub from the dirt. “Here.” Skylar stopped crying, all three of their tentacles reached out to take the insect larvae from their parent.
The grub juices dribbled out the side of Skylar’s beak when they bit into the bug. Another bite and the grub was swallowed, the two pieces of it causing Skylar’s stomach to reinflate. Skylar started patting the ground just like Jatydid, quickly finding their own grub to add to their stomach.
“Feeling better?” Skylar’s body puffed out a little to accommodate their full stomach and they chirped. “Good. Now, I think it is time for your nap. We’ll see how much you remember of today’s lessons tomorrow.” Little Skylar waddled after their parent out of the greenhouse.
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