June 30, 2013

The Turtle

Last Thursday, my husband went to New Mexico to work for a week.  Before he left, he promised Danny a surprise upon his return.  He didn't have anything in mind in particular, I believe.  He just wanted to give our boy a reason to look forward to his return, instead of lamenting the fact that he was leaving.

On the drive south, he called me and said with boyish delight, "I found Danny's surprise!"

"You found his surprise??"

And then he told me about how he almost drove over a turtle, but instead he stopped and picked it up and rescued it and he's bringing it home.

"A turtle!?" I was picturing the turtle my grandmother's neighbor had in her backyard for years when I was a child.  This turtle was a foot in diameter and ate all kinds of everything.

"Yes, a turtle!!"

"Um, might we want to discuss the incorporation of a new pet into our home first??"  I asked, laughing internally at my husband, but unable to reflect the hilarity of the situation in my voice. I just sounded cranky.

"Okay, yeah, I guess."

After he explained that this box turtle was 3 inches in diameter, I was a little more open to the idea, but I still texted my mom: "I can't believe he's bringing home a turtle." Merely a couple of weeks ago I was giggling at her for having found a box turtle in her own backyard, naming it Ezra and sending me daily stories about it via text. Little did I know that at that moment, she was babysitting both turtles in the back yard of her New Mexico home.

Fast forward a week. Alejandro brings the box turtle home and presents Danny with his new pet. Danny was totally delighted and spent the next several hours asking his Papa approximately one million times if he would "lift up the roof of his house" so he could see his turtle again. They fed him rotten celery that evening.

Oh, maybe this won't be so bad.  He'll just eat all the greens that go bad from our refrigerator instead of having to throw away what we didn't eat. Now, when I have to buy a whole bag of celery just for 2 stalks for a recipe, I won't feel so bad. Danny learns responsiblity for a creature and we minimize waste.  Perfect! 

The following day I just about jumped out of my skin, when I looked down to see this little turtle peering his little head over the top edge of the 18 inch tall box he'd been put into after having scaled the plastic-lined walls with his razor sharp claws.  Ahem.  Ok.  Dull cute little turtle toes.  But still.

Great. Just what I need... to accidentally step on a box turtle in the middle of the night and scream bloody murder.

And then came the crickets.  Yes, crickets.  Approximately 500 million of them alive in a bag for turtle food. At that, I put my proverbial foot down. A turtle I can handle.  Live crickets, not so much. They were banished to the garage.  But not before Danny brought the bag upstairs to the bedroom for me to see.

I almost gagged.

What sticker did Danny choose for his sticker chart last night? A cricket, of course.

Then later last night when all boys (1 big and 2 little) were sound asleep in their beds, I killed a moth with a 3 inch wing span. Say ew. I was pretty proud of myself for conquering this beast without waking any slumbering boys to take care of it for me.  This morning, as we rolled out of bed I told my husband about it, proud of my feat.

"What!? Where is it? We have to feed it to the turtle! That's good protein! All bugs killed must now be saved for the turtle. We have to find moths and worms to feed to him!! Come on! We have to hurry up and go get it before a bird eats it!” And he bounds out of bed.

Oh good grief. 

He and Danny are currently outside hunting worms to feed our little box turtle.

The level of boy grodiness in this household just spiked about 37 notches. This calls for tea and a pedicure.