Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Frog Effect

And so it begins...

The "it" being the ultimate super mom test that my mother, Saint Vivi, passed with flying colors.  I like to joke that my brother, now a veternarian with a PhD, came out of the womb, magnifying glass in hand, looking for some creepy-crawly reptiles and insects to inspect.  Growing up, turtles, frogs, and yes, even snakes, peacefully coexisted in our playroom alongside Barbie in her townhouse and the ubiquitous pink corvette.  Saint Vives not only tolerated these turtles, frogs, and snakes, but she even - shiver - assisted and encouraged my brother's love and care of these creatures.  I didn't realize it at the time, but wow, what a motherly concession she made by not dissuading my brother from pursuing his passion, even one that in all likelihood, totally oooged her out.

I've often wondered, if and when I'm in the same position - my child wanting and desiring to cultivate an interest in something that gives me the heebie-jeebies - how will I react?  Will I be the good mother like my own, and keep the frozen white mice in the freezer right next the chicken nuggets and popsicles to satiate the big, black corn snake that so often escapes the bounds of his own aquarium/cage/home?  Or will I instead do my best to divert her curiosity toward varieties less reptilian in nature, such as, say, art?  Or American Girl dolls?  Or Disney princesses? 

Who knows?

Today, however, I had a little foreshadowing of this upcoming dilemma of parenthood.

Which brings me to...

Charlotte Wiggles Pig the Frog.

You may or may not be aware, but Tropical Storm Hermine made landfall in Texas yesterday.  This has caused tornadoes, torrential rains, straight line winds, and extreme flooding.  Now, me?  I don't mind the storms a bit.  In fact, I've always taken a sort of perverse satisfaction in natural disasters, as they seem to create a sort of communal collusion among the citizens of our environs.  Strangers chat with each other in grocery store lines about the crazy weather, the news does a whole bunch of cheesy special interest stories about harrowing pet rescues, and everyone generally seems to be a little more forgiving of small indiscretions like being late to a meeting or missing ballet class because I just didn't feel like getting out in the rain/hurricane/tornado/traffic/weather/flooding, etc.  Plus you can have bad rainy hair, and no one raises an eyebrow.  So I'm all like, Bring it on, Hermine. 

However, one of the slightly lesser-known consequences of hurricanes and floods is something I like to refer to as the Worm Effect.  Ever notice how after a big rain, worm carcasses (carcassae?) are everywhere?  Well, apparently, now with all this flooding, the Worm Effect has translated into the Frog Effect.  Today, I found frogs everywhere - inside, outside, on the car, on my clothes.  I'm beginning to understand how those Egyptians felt during their froggy plague.  Shoulda listened to Yahweh, people, and let His people go.

Needless to say, Aria Grace was T-H-R-I-L-L-E-D by the Frog Effect.  She was squealing, laughing, jumping up and down, chasing after the frogs, doing her best to capture one.

And then - oh joy- she did.

And then - oh more joy - she asked if she could keep him (her/it?).

And then - oh even more joy - because I'm suffering from the guilt that accompanies the distraction when a member of your immediate family passes away and you have a million things to do, so your children end up watching a few too many hours of "Clifford the Big Red Dog", I said yes, she could keep him.

And then - the most joy of all - I had to phone Chris and confess to him that I had violated our No-More-Creatures-in-the-House-That-Poop Treaty.  I tried to rationalize it by telling him that frogs don't poop so it technically doesn't count, but, as he is more intelligent than I sometimes give him credit for, he didn't buy it.

Welcome to the Thomas family, Charlotte Wiggles Pig the Frog.

Now, my oh-so-wise blog friends (and yes, I'm talking to you Vivi and my resident scaly-creature expert, Dr. Mary Lang), I entreat you for some advice.  Even though I have a diminutive amount of childhood experience with amphibians, it happens to be limited by the fact that I paid more attention to souping up Barbie's corvette and less time to learning how to care for a durn frog. 

Aria seems to think we just need to give him/her/it some "Baby Frog Milk" and a chocolate chip cookie, and it'll be fine, but I have a feeling Charlotte Wiggles Pig the Frog may need a slightly more substantial diet.  Wikipedia was extremely helpful:  "Almost all species of frogs are carnivorous as adults, eating invertebrates such as arthropods, annelids and gastropods."

Well, wouldn't you know it?  Just checked my fridge, and we are plum out of annelids and gastropods!  Darn the luck.

As it stands now, he/she/it is currently residing in a plastic container formerly containing Cheerio's, complete with dirt, leaves, grass, water, an acorn, and a snail, a worm, a spider and an ant for company. 

Hmm... after reading that last sentence, I believe I just might qualify for a mother award today after all. 

So, friends, any frog-raising advice? 



  1. You're in luck! The frog will die if you keep it and so it needs to go back outside so that it can become a mommy or daddy frog. Unless you want to spend $100 on a new aquarium, water pump, rocks, and start aging water by the gallons. And then there is the live food you will have to find like crickets, worms, small crawfish and more. The image of the food has to move across the frog's retina for the frog to grab it. And there just isn't anything like Cheerios or bread that will move to attract the frog's attention. So tell Aria that she can look for it outside and one day, she can kiss it and it'll turn into a prince. Personally, I'd rather have the frog. Now I want to know what kind of frog it is. Can you photograph it and post it?

  2. Hey! You're off the hook, Supermom! You can return all those critters to your backyard for enjoyment there and the fun of finding them again.