Tonight after dinner, I went out to the pool to swim some laps. About ten minutes into my swim, I ran into a friend.
We get frogs around our pool a lot. It’s a Florida thing. But this sucker was big, even by Florida standards. I freaked the freak out and squealed so loud that the kids and Chris heard me from inside.
Naturally, when they got out there, Bean immediately wanted to catch the frog.
“Wait!” he shouted. “Let me get my trapper!” And he ran inside to get his bug catcher.
Meanwhile, Gracie and I stood there on the side of the pool, just staring at this massive frog swimming circles in the deep end. “Let’s name him Princess Tiana!” Gracie squealed.
Finally, Bean made it back outside with his bug catcher, and he began the great process all five-year-old boys know – the art of catching something you are afraid of actually touching. It’s a pretty funny dance to watch, actually.
After a few unsuccessful attempts, Bean caught the frog.
We let him examine Princess Tiana for a while, and both he and Gracie took turns parading him around the backyard. But after a few minutes, it was time to wrap it up and set Princess Tiana free. “Alright, Bean,” I said. “We should probably put Princess Tiana back in the yard.”
“WHAT?!?!?!” Bean shouted. “But you’ve always said, ‘You catch it, you keep it!'”
Now, this is technically a true statement. Chris and I have always had this humorous little saying that we tell the kids, “You catch it, you keep it!” Mostly, we say it because it’s funny to see them trying to catch birds and squirrels. And it keeps us from having to say no so much because we KNOW they won’t ACTUALLY catch anything. So, SURE! Go catch that lizard! And, heck yeah, go catch that duck! And they always try. And it’s always funny.
Seriously. It’s provided hours of entertainment.
But this time, Bean actually DID IT. He CAUGHT the frog. And he looked up at me with these pleading eyes filled with those, “Have you been lying to me, Mom?” tears.
It took much coercing and lots of bribery (and finally the argument that, even if he did keep the frog, we didn’t have anywhere big enough to keep him…), but Bean finally released Princess Tiana back into the wilds of our suburban backyard.
Lesson learned, though. Playing tricks on your kids to see if they will chase after ducks and other small birds and rodents is only funny until they ACTUALLY DO catch something. And then you just turn out to be the lying mom who says no and is afraid of frogs.
And who wants to be that mom?