May 21, 2007
This weekend on a walk with the younger kids, we came across a pond filled with frogs, big green frogs that leaped into the water as we approached, frogs with big bulgy eyes that floated in the water, looking up at us. My husband and I found a bench where we could sit in the spring sunshine and talk while the kids spent hours playing along the edge of the pond, entertaining themselves with the frogs.
What is it about snakes, turtles, and frogs that is so appealing to kids? It seems like there's always at least one kid in every group that wants to catch a creature and look at it up close. In my family, it was Blonde Sister. She was (and still is) especially expert at catching turtles. She'd go off in a rowboat and return minutes later with a turtle. She'd hold it carefully, while we would gather around to inspect it up close, looking at the markings along the shell and the way the head pulled back underneath. Then she'd put it carefully into the shallow muddy water, and we'd watch it swim away.
The frogs in this pond had that same kind of allure. Skater Boy, determined to catch one, took off his sneakers he could wade in the pond. He'd stalk a frog, slowly, patiently, moving closer and closer, whispering a narrative to the other kids, "I've almost got him, I'm really close, he's just right there." Then he'd make a sudden frenzied leap at the creature. "I've got him! I've got him! I've – oh, crap!"
Every once in a while, I'd look across the pond and warn the kids, "Don't hurt the frogs," but the warning hardly seemed necessary since the frogs seemed much faster than the kids. Clearly, none of these kids have reached the level of expertise of Blonde Sister.
Older Neighbor Boy knelt down in the mud in what looked like an attempt to hypnotize the frog. Shaggy Hair Boy had sort of an impatient approach – he kept circling about and changing his strategy, and when he finally did get a frog in his hands, he jumped up and down screaming in such an excited way that I thought maybe he had stepped into a nest of yellow jackets.
With-a-Why, my quiet youngest child, took the Zen approach. He sat on the edge of the pond, perfectly still, watching the antics of the other boys, and waited for the frogs to come to him.
With-a-Why in the foreground, with Older Neighbor Boy and Shaggy Hair Boy on the far bank. And the boy in the top photo is Skater Boy.
Posted by jo(e)