Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Story About the Tadpole, Part One

Well, it's that time of year again, spring!  There are actually buds on some trees, and there is no ice on the pond.  There is a bowl on the screened porch that has a luna moth cocoon in it, and we are cheering it on.  We thought Gigantor (some of you will remember him) {Click the link for an update on Gigantor!} would come out last summer, but, apparently, he decided to overwinter in one of my favorite bowls.  Either that or there's a dead partially-formed luna moth inside.  We will give it some time, but at some point we will cut into it to find out what is there.  At least then I can get my bowl back; that is, if I am not too disgusted to use it again.

All this possibly-failed metamorphosis reminded me of the old tadpole story, which I think deserves a spot here in my blog.  Some of you have already read this...

Once upon a time Edwin's parents gave the kids a nice tadpole, frog, and/or bug habitat for Christmas. It came with a coupon for a free tadpole. Even the folks in the warm south do not have a supply of tadpoles to ship until spring, apparently, so I filed away the coupon and waited for spring to come, at least in the warm place where they breed the tadpoles.

Fast-forward to April. Surely it must be spring somewhere! So I ordered the tadpole, free, plus $7.99 for "shipping." And then I should have gone right out to buy the food and special water for the tadpole. But I did not. I promptly forgot that I had ordered the tadpole.

Fast-forward again to April 26. I remember the date because we had a lot going on that day. We drove around half the state of Minnesota in a snow storm and had 14 people (plus us) over for dinner that evening. All day long in the car we lamented the fact that it was April 26, 30 degrees, and snowing! But I digress. I opened the mailbox that evening to find a test tube with a tadpole inside - a very small, very cold tadpole! Poor guy had been in the mailbox all day, and, as I mentioned a few times, it was cold! We were happy he was alive, named him Taddeous, and placed him, test tube and all, on the desk in the office. We were expecting 14 for dinner, after all! It wasn't until later in the evening that I realized I had not purchased the food and water for Tad. So he was stuck in the tube with no food that night. A sweet friend with tadpole experience said she'd bring some food to church the next morning, and we could get the water on the way home, so all would be fine.

Safely settled with some food and the proper kind of water, Taddeous began to swim in the nice habitat that was now his home. The children were fascinated! They watched him constantly. They became aware that they had never had a real pet. (We had raised a few Monarch butterfly eggs and released them, but they were not really pets. I decided that the only reason I would have animals in the house would be to study metamorphosis, so we were still not stepping into pet territory!) Taddeous swam and swam, but he was small and hard to see. There were a few places for him to hide, so he often hid. The habitat sat on a table in the office, and the kids often moved it around to get a better view.

Then one day, unbeknownst to all of us, Taddeous got "sloshed" over the edge of the plastic water container in the habitat. There he was, stuck and out of the water, and we didn't even know it. So when we searched for him the next morning, it was a sad, hard, shriveled Taddeous that we found. No metamorphosis in his future! The kids handled it pretty well; they are, thankfully, not of the personality types to cry over a dead tadpole they only had a couple of days! I said I would order another tadpole…surely the next time things would go better!


Gail said...

I still laugh at the story. I'm sorry about the $7.99..guess I should reimburse you, since it was a Christmas gift!!!

Tracey said...

You've long-since repaid me!

Anonymous said...

Astonishing style. I wish I could write that way.