Remember how the BOY TRIBE in my neighborhood was engaged in the rampant mass murder of tadpoles, dredging them out of the pond behind my house and placing them in tupperware and bombing them with whole animal crackers (that dissolved into gill clogging sludge), keeping them long after they died, still calling them by their names and dropping still more crackers into the filthy water and insisting they were JUST SLEEPING until the sad, sad little bodies WITHERED into BLATANTLY DEAD tad-husks? Yeah. Boys. *sigh*
I wouldn't let Sam keep any until we had gone to PETS BACKWARDS R ALMOST AS EXPENSIVE AS CHILDREN (with nods to Dave Barry) and spent many bright, shiny pennies on a tank and a "bubbler" and fake coral reefs and real water grasses and gravel AND tadpole food...which doesn' exist by the way. I asked a PETSMART employee for some.
Her: Oh, there is no such thing.
Me: But... what do I feed tadpoles?
Her: Oh you just boil a little cabbage up for them every day and maybe chop up some...
Me: HA HA HA HA HAHAHAHAHAHA. No, but really, what do people WHO HAVE LIVES feed tadpoles?
Her: *hands me a little jar of Aquatic Frog and Newt Feed*
So last week, the tadpoles were established in the De-Lux-O-Riffic Tad-Mansion (deluxe because it had those little amenities the other would-be tadpole environments in the garages of the BOY TRIBE members lacked. Just little luxeries, like, say, OXYGEN) and they ate the Aquatic Frog and Newt Feed up like it was mother's biscuits.
I liked them. I enjoyed watching them, keeping the tank clean, arranging the aquatic grasses and building a little pebble island for when the frogs-to-be emerged wanting a beach. I really liked how the bubbler gurgled and made the room sound cheerful. I especially liked how they were TEMPORARY.
"Eventually," I told the children over and over, "Tadpoles become frogs, and you release them."
"These are not FOREVER PETS like WAFFLES," I told the children again and again. "They are VISITORS IN OUR HOME. We can't FEED frogs, who will want to EAT GNATS and such! So we can ONLY have them until they change."
I was VERY clear and emphatic. Tadpoles=JUST PASSING THROUGH on the trip to FROGdom. FROGS= NOT FEEDABLE BY US. We worked to NOT get too attached...they do not even have individual names, for example. They have been collectively named The Little Pets, and they spend their days happily hiding amonst the grasses and purporting to be educational.
Which, they aren't really. Not INHERENTLY.
I realized HAVING tadpoles around don't teach nobody nothing. No one is standing near the tank and having bits of KNOWLEDGE ABOUT AMPHIBIANS seep into their brain pans via bubbler osmosis. SO. We got on the internet to research what sort of frogs they might turn into, and see what stage they are in now, and how many stages there are, and what their scientific name is and blah blah and the more we looked at different tadpoles found in Georgia, the more I came to realize that these things...these little pets...they were NOT tadpoles. Not at all. I had no idea WHAT they were.
Until on one tadpole page I saw a sentence that read, "Newts are often mistaken for tadpoles" and the word newts was a LINK, and I clicked it and up popped a picture of...The Little Pets.
Me: Holy cow! The Little Pets are...Newts. No wonder they liked the Aquatic Frog and Newt Feed!
Sam: COOL! NEWTS! WHAT DO NEWTS TURN INTO???
Sam; COOL! BIGGER NEWTS! And they eat the newt feed, so we can KEEP THEM! OH COOL! NEWTS FOREVER!
Maisy: *arching her back and raising her hands like an Mary Lou Retton sticking her landing* Newts! Fo'ebbah!
Sam: NEWTS FOREVER!!! HURRAY.
Maisy: NEWTS FO'EBBAHHHHHH! HOOWAY!
Newts. Forever. Okay then.
VIRTUE REPORT: Still extremely virtuous, but my FIRST big VIRTUE CHALLENGE is tonight---supper club and eclair cake. HEY! By the way, if you are playing 20 Days of Virtue, and you, like my friend Mir, are BLOGGING IT, send me the URL! I will post a link to your virtue updates, and we can all follow each other's progress as our tad-butts morph into... SMALLER BUTTS! SMALLER BUTTS FO'EBBAH! HOOWAY!Posted by joshilyn at June 2, 2005 2:11 PM