Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Story About the Tadpole, Part Two

I don't want to move the link to vote for my friend, Julie B, too far down the page!  Here it is: Progresso Souper You .  Please vote daily through April 12.

And now, back to the tadpole story...

If you haven't already seen it, you should read Part One first...

Tadpole number two arrived one day in May, and it was not 30 degrees! This one was much larger and came in a plastic bag instead of a tiny test tube. I also ordered Tadpole Bites with this one, so we were now ready to be more responsible tadpole owners. We named him Taddeous II. He swam and swam but did not grow. We watched him carefully, and he did not “slosh” over the side. After a couple of months of swimming without a single hint of leg-sprouting, I determined it was too cold in our house for a cold-blooded animal to thrive. We moved the tadpole habitat outside to the screened porch and placed him carefully where the direct sunlight would not boil him in his tiny amount of water. Lo and behold, he sprouted legs about a week later! Taddeous II thrived in his new, warmer environment and soon he had four legs and a shrinking tail. We were going to be the proud owners of a frog!

As we anxiously awaited Tad’s first minutes out of the water, I read the label on the Tadpole Bites. This was food for tadpoles and fully-aquatic frogs. For a day or two I pondered what “fully-aquatic frogs” might mean, and then it hit me. Our frog was not going to be “fully-aquatic,” since he was clearly a leopard frog, and everything we had read about leopard frogs told us that one day he would jump out of the water and explore the rest of his wide world (Or, we hoped he would see his little plastic habitat with plastic plants, plastic rocks, and pictures of the wide world as a big adventure!). That’s what we were waiting for, after all! And it was going to happen soon, so we must find out what to feed the not-so-fully-aquatic frog.

After some internet research that did not leave me feeling warm and fuzzy, I determined we must take a trip to a place that would be very foreign to us – Petco. Surely the nice people at Petco would tell me that normal, not-fully-aquatic frogs eat some other kind of food in a little cardboard jar – Frog Bites, perhaps. Surely the nice people at Petco would not agree with Google, which said that real frogs will not really eat food that is not alive and moving around. We were heading out on vacation in a couple of weeks, and I wanted to have everything in line for Tad’s trip to a friend’s house while we were gone. And we did not want him to starve, refusing the Tadpole Bites the moment he jumped out of the water for the first time, since we were now established, responsible, and successful owners of a tadpole that had nearly turned into a frog!

Well, the froglet did jump out of the water, the very next day. He explored the wide world of the plastic habitat that was his home and then went back in the water. He repeated this a few times, so I knew our time was running out. We took the trip to Petco, which was kind of fun. I should take the kids there every couple of months or so to relieve any guilt I might one day have for not allowing them to have a real pet. But there were no Frog Bites. I determined the tadpole sellers were in cahoots with the Petco folks: don’t tell the people that they will need to feed the normal, not fully-aquatic frog live bugs, just let them find out when they come to you for Frog Bites, after the kids are attached to the tiny frog! You must realize how many moms would not buy into the raise-a-tadpole-into-a-frog-it’s-educational idea if they knew this was coming! But the guy talked me into buying live crickets for the frog. I paid $2.82 for 24 crickets, which eat lettuce, by the way, and drove home.

We started setting up the cricket habitat (!). We punched small holes into the lid of a plastic container, put some lettuce inside, and coaxed 24 crickets out of their plastic bag and into the container which would now be their home. I explained to the kids that the frog would go to live in the great outdoors in the pond across the street as soon as the crickets ran out, died, or the day before vacation, whichever came first! I decided that although our friends had kindly offered to care for the frog while we were gone, feeding him live crickets was asking a bit much! (Their frog is fully-aquatic and eats little frog-food pellets.) Then, Edwin came home for lunch and we all ate. After lunch, Edwin, not wanting to miss the live feeding frenzy, carefully captured two little crickets and put them in the frog habitat. He chased and recovered the cricket that got away on the screened porch, too! We were all very excited, as you might imagine! We searched for the frog, which was hiding in his favorite spot in the water, under a little plastic rock bridge. Edwin moved the bridge so the frog could see the crickets moving around, and we all waited anxiously for the big pounce with flying-tongue action. But, alas, the little frog did not pounce. Taddeous II was dead.

The children, with their ever-sunny dispositions, begged me to let them keep the tiny crickets to observe them for a few days; we already had the lettuce, after all…


Ed said...

How did I miss this, Tracey? I just learned today that you had a blog! It's really interesting and well-written, and I wish I had known about it sooner!


Tracey said...

Thanks, and sorry you missed it! Now you may have time for such things! ;-)