Saturday, June 8, 2013

A Frog Story

A couple months ago, I got this picture from Angie while I was at work in a text that said "We found a frog in the back yard and he's going to be our pet!"

The frog is the thing trying really hard to blend in with the stick.
Here's a better picture of him...

Knowing how much my kids (especially Patrick) are in love with all animals, I knew she wasn't kidding when she said the frog would be our pet. Because if the kids found then captured a frog and it didn't bite either of them or hiss or something, there's no way they're letting that thing go. His life was now theirs. I half-expected them to start throwing sticks into the frog's little habitat saying "It climbs the sticks when they are thrown in. It does this whenever it is told." (If you've never seen Silence of the Lambs, GO WATCH IT NOW. I can wait.)

Then, throughout the day, I got pictures like this one with captions like "Guess who's blasting off!"

And "Guess who's saving the town from a fire!"

"Guess who's going for a tractor ride!"

And so on...

 And so forth...

I fully expected the frog to be dead before I got home. But amazingly, he was alive and as happy as a frog is able to express.

Madelyn changes Disney Princess outfits pretty much every 20 minutes. I don't know which princess this is but she needs a bigger shirt if she's going to be role modeling for my daughter.
And so, we kept him. We found out that he was a grey tree frog and could climb pretty much anything in our house. He would jump from Patrick's shoulder onto the wall and then jump back onto the next person that walked by to hitch a ride somewhere else. It was all pretty cool.

One of Patrick's favorite things to do was race the frog up the wall. Patch was excited to have a climbing buddy and also excited to win every single time since his opponent has a slight size disadvantage and no idea he's even supposed to be racing.

 If it's hard to tell what's happening in that picture here's a video of Patrick climbing the door frame to get to the pull-up bar. As much as I wince every time he drops down, I'm glad he does that now rather than what he did before; which was climb to the top whether you were close by or not then start yelling for someone to come get him before he fell with about 2 seconds of warning. I learned I can run to the kitchen door from almost anywhere in the house in a very short amount of time when necessary.

We also had to feed the frog. We tried all kinds of stuff the first few days but he didn't eat any of it. Then we finally went to the pet store and got him some small live crickets and he went bananas for 'em. Sometimes we'd put the crickets in the habitat with him and let him "hunt" them (sit really still until a dumb-as-bricks cricket literally jumped onto his face) and sometimes the kids would feed them out of their hands. This is video of the first time they fed him from their hands. I LOVE how excited they get.

Here's a better angle. I also love how closely Madelyn pays attention to Angie talking about the frogs tongue at the end of this video.

And so it went for weeks. I REALLY thought the frog wasn't going to make it past the first week with how not-so-gentle the kids can be in their excitement to "play" with him. But they did great and the frog kept eating and drinking and doing all the other normal frog things frogs tend to do. Both kids tried sleeping with the frog in their room but they both kicked him out after the first time he croaked really loud after they had fallen asleep. His croak is loud enough when we hear him in our yard - when he's in the same room, it's pretty darn loud.

His piano playing, however, was magnificent.
Then one day, Patrick seemed to suddenly feel a little guilty about keeping the frog in our house. He talked to us about it on and off all day and we did our best to answer his questions but it just didn't sit right with him that we had taken the frog "out of the wild" (his words). A few days later, Patrick decided we should let the frog go. I was at work but Angie said Patrick was saying things like "he came from the wild, we should put him back in the wild. We didn't buy him from the pet store. He's not really ours. He should be with his family and friends." Angie assured him it was OK if he wanted to keep the frog but he had made up his little mind. Mr. Ribbits needed to be released.

So they took him out and Patrick cried as he let Mr. Ribbits go in the yard close to where they had found him. He kept saying things like "It's OK buddy. You'll find your friends and your family again. They'll be so happy to see you." crying the whole time. It was heartbreaking. But we were SO proud of Patch for making a tough decision, completely on his own, and going through with it even though it made him really upset.

That night, we heard the frog croaking in the back yard and Patrick started crying again but smiled and said "He sounds so happy!"

I love that kid.


Anonymous said...

You seriously need to make this into a children's book!

Jana Burrow said...

Brilliant idea! This would make an amazing children's book!