Monday, 18 February 2013

The Escape of all Things, Great and Small: Something to Crow About.

Saturday afternoon... two small boys... what to do... what to do...? 

 This is definitely not a Breakfast at Tiffany's moment.

It's lunch at mine, and it's not for the queasy or weak of stomach.  
It's not a happy mummy lunch, chocka blocka quinoa and kale, either.  Oh no, this is a different kind of beast altogether. We're talking hot dogs, ice cream floats and king worms.

Yes, king worms. 
The boy likes to grow them into beetles. They live about as long as a hamster, in case you were wondering.

I'm ok with bugs.  Really. 
They've been around long enough now that I'm used to them, you see.  The boy keeps a lizard and two frogs, and he has been on an eternal hunt for new and interesting critters since he could walk.  Did you know that tree frogs and geckos live a very, very long time? I'm here to testify that they do indeed, and I'm good with that.  There aren't enough frogs  out there, you see. And did you know that habit creates a little trench in the brain, a neural pathway of sorts? THAT means that even the most squeamish person will get used to crickets, worms, lizards and amphibians, given enough exposure, and voila.  I'm ok with creepy crawlies.

And I love frogs.

No, not like that.  Don't be silly. 

"I'm ok with bugs," I said. "Just not on the kitchen table.  Not at lunch ti... OH MY GOD THERE ARE CRICKETS EVERYWHERE WHO LEFT THE CRICKET KEEPER OPEN?" Bugs used to make me feel all queasy and sick inside, but we attract what we fear, and I've lived in close quarters with so many of the wee pests now that I'm willing to hunt and trap them gently.  

And from their perspective, it was a clever diversion. The boys ate and flew the coop without further interference from me. 

 I was in a fowl mood. I had murder on my mind, but don't worry.  It's not really caws for concern...

I simply needed an escape.

(My little wheel suck is stuck in between us.  You can't see him, but he's there.)
 I dragged the boys across the Burrard St Bridge to see the movie "Escape From Planet Earth," 

...and then we met up with the man and headed home via False Creek.  

We stopped at the little green star in the map above.  It's a man-made island/peninsula/wildlife sanctuary, aka Heaven on Earth for small boys 

which holds a bit of appeal for grown-ups, too.

It was a super low tide, so the boys explored under all those rocks which are normally under water,

while we watched the crows gather in their raucous murders to head off to the communal roosting place at Still Creek.

What's that old saying about little boys? Slugs and snails and puppy dog tails?
It's true.  There's never a shortage of critters in my house...

and he is forever scouring the ground for some slimy new find.  Yes, creepy crawlies play a starring role in my life these days, but that's alright.  I don't have to look far for the silver lining in this situation. For years now, every few months, the boy would come running in, saying "Look mum! Look!!  I found a diamond!" and invariably he would hand me a piece of glass to treasure.

Last Mother's Day was different, however.  Last Mother's Day he came running in, hollering "Mum!  Mum!  I found a diamond!  I found a diamond!"  and this time he was right.

It's a solid carat, bless him and his love of bugs.

Often I wonder whether the Gods are having a laugh at my expense, but on that special day, I felt a great reprieve.  It was almost as though they took pity on me, patted me on the head, and said, "There, there, ye  poor daft thing. You may well be chasing crickets around your house for the next thirty years, but here's a pretty, sparkly distraction."

And sadly enough, for the most part it works. When it doesn't, I make the great escape on my bike, and before you know it, every little thing is quite alright again.


  1. ...what a fun, funny & delightful post, my friend... may be a diamond in the rough but like cyclings answer to audrey hepburn, you carry yourself through life with an elegance that tiffanys only wishes they had...

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    2. ...'buddy', your little brown frog buddy is frickin' cute..."hi, mum...thanks for having me in the family..."...

      ...up to 4 year old, i lived in a tiny town of maybe 250 people in northern ontario with hardly any kids to play with & as i grew to became a man, me ol' mum loved to remind me that i made the best of the situation...

      ...she'd say - " know, when you were little, you used to come in the house & proudly tell me you had new friends & then start pulling bugs n' beetles & rolly pollies out of your pockets...whatever small creatures you would find out in the dirt were your friends for the day..."... mum's are great about accepting that kinda stuff, babble & by reminding me of it years later, my mum left me memories to cherish...

    3. And in turn, you just reminded me of the first few months after we returned to Canada from the UK. The boy would come in with little bug "friends" all the time, too, and then he would go about building little bug habitats for them to enjoy...

  2. OMG I so relate. I grew up in an all girl family (except for my long suffering Dad), and there was a bit of culture shock and a learning curve to gaining a boyfriend, then a husband, then a son. What a great post. I will photograph geckos (I have like 50 running around right now, totally wild and noisy) and beautiful frogs for you to show your upcoming biologists. Working at a university I recognise up and coming scientists when I see them, these kids have it!

    1. Thank you! Wow - you live in little boy paradise, don't you?

  3. Your writing is a balm.

    Did you really drag the lads all the way along the yellow line? Good on ya!

    1. I did! It used to be that I had to drag him along to cover moderate distances, but this year things have shifted and the little wheel suck can really move. He has more speed than I do when he's heading up hills, too, at least when I'm riding my Dutch bike.

  4. Breakfast At Tiffanys? Is Tiffanys in your panties? Love, Peter Swellinger