LUXEMBOURG-VILLE — A six-year-old from the capital returned home from school on Friday with a germ-infested caterpillar named Mila stuck to his hand.
The plush, multicolored creature — which plays a prominent role in primary school textbooks — was described by the boy’s parents as stinking of “slime, kid sweat, and the icky contents of hundreds of children’s runny noses.”
Once the caterpillar was removed from their son’s hand using a pair of tongs, the parents placed it on a shelf in the garage and explained that Mila was going to spend the rest of the weekend relaxing so it would be in good shape for its return to school three days later.
“Conor protested for about 30 seconds, but then he got distracted by a siren outside and forgot until Monday morning, when I reminded him to bring Mila back to his teacher,” said Siobhan, the boy’s mother. “I had him put on latex gloves and goggles, just to be safe.”
Experts say that had the parents not acted swiftly, the caterpillar would have stayed attached to the boy’s hand for the entire weekend, accompanying him to the dinner table, bed, and even the toilet, spreading pathogens throughout the house.
Local parent and germaphobe Neils Juste says that he was horrified when his daughter Sophie had Mila during a full week of school holiday last autumn.
“She was all excited, as if she had won a contest,” he said. “But we all know that Mila is no prize, but rather a curse that teachers put on a different household every Friday.”
“It required all of my willpower not to take that vile, germy stuffed thing outside, douse it with petrol, and set fire to it,” he added.
Marie-Laure Baddock, a Walferdange mother of three whose children have all brought Mila home at some point, says that parents are right to feel sickened when it’s their turn.
“There’s nothing innocent or cute about Mila,” she said. “Every kid from here to Dudelange has put his greasy, dirty hands in that smiling caterpillar’s hole.”