Going under

We have a frog problem. A major frog problem. Like Second Egyptian Plague status. So the boys had a friend over this weekend and they captured a good number of frogs. The plan was to relocate them to the pond, where frogs belong. Because, you know, just letting them die in the aquarium would be inhumane. So the kids spent all day herding frogs and then we headed down to the pond for the release. We throw the first frog in and it just floats there. I don’t think it kicked its legs or anything like you would expect, but I didn’t have much time to observe it before a big fish came out of nowhere and swallowed it in one bite. I thought the boys would be upset, but they were cool with it so we threw in another frog. Again, no movement. It just floated there helplessly until it was eaten. I thought that was odd, but I rationalized it:

Well, if it doesn’t have anywhere it wants to go, why would it start swimming when we throw it in? 

The frogs must just be lazy. The grand finale was the biggest frog which was clearly a different species. It had different markings and was 20 times larger than the others. We threw it in and it started swimming exactly like I expected of all of the frogs. Hmm…

So I texted The Husband.

This may be a stupid question, but can these small frogs swim? It kind of seems like they are drowning when we throw them in the pond.

He responds.

No. For the millionth time, they are not water frogs.

I guess we’ve had this conversation before and I have no recollection. My failure to listen to The Husband and his dumb stories apparently cost 20 frogs their lives today.

Mama, I’m coming home

So my grandma passed away a month ago. Today, we attended a memorial event at the cemetery that included a balloon release. I’d never been to a memorial balloon release. In case you haven’t either, this is how it’s supposed to go:

  1. Distribute one balloon per each loved one being memorialized.
  2. The family of the loved one writes a heartfelt message on the balloon.
  3. The crowd stands silently as each name is read and they release their balloon when the name of their loved one is read.

A balloon release is always a risky place to take children because, to a child, losing a balloon can be a traumatizing event, often resulting in tears and devastation. A memorial balloon release has all of that with the added expectation that the child stand quietly and respectfully.

There were a number of issues at the memorial balloon release. Since our group was only memorializing one loved one, we only got one balloon to split between three children. I managed to find an empty balloon string on the ground, which satisfied The Girl, but I still needed an additional balloon. I had two options:

  1. Kill a member of our group so we could get an additional balloon, or
  2. Dishonestly obtain a second balloon for our group.

I went with the less radical option – lying at a memorial service. Now that everyone had balloons (or balloon strings) in hand, we were back on track, and the boys wrote their notes on their balloons.

Boy One wrote a sweet note about how much we miss Nana:

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Boy Two, on the other hand:

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Yes, you read that correctly. “I love mom.” Other attendees looked on with pity at this poor, sweet boy who had apparently lost his mother. I felt like I should correct them, but who am I to say anything? I just lied five minutes ago to get the stupid balloon for him. Also, it doesn’t actually say his mother is deceased and it’s not really his fault if  others read between the lines. And finally, maybe he knew something I didn’t? The day isn’t over yet.

In the end, his fraudulent balloon message ended up being a blessing and here is why:

As the event wore on, the boys became more and more restless. As boys typically do, they started a game of hitting each other in the head with their balloons, which I was powerless to stop without reverting to Option 1 above. This resulted in Boy Two’s special balloon memorializing his mother coming undone and being released. You will recall that he had firmly decided that he would not be releasing his balloon so this was an issue. Luckily, a kindhearted stranger with a soft spot for orphans offered her balloon to him, but her balloon was red, not white. This was another issue. He proceeded to cry. Red-faced, gigantic tears crying.  I was mortified. This grieving woman gave up her balloon memorializing her loved one (who most likely is legitimately dead) and he’s crying like a spoiled brat because it is the wrong color. I managed to look up through my embarrassment and when I did, I found misty-eyed, sympathetic faces looking back. Then I saw what they were seeing: an innocent boy who had already endured the loss of his loving mother (probably untimely cancer or maybe a tragic car accident). Now he has lost the only thing he had to memorialize her. His whole life is just loss and grief. How much pain can one little boy endure?

Shamefully, I just went with it, although I did stop short of referring to myself as “Auntie” while comforting him and reminding him of what a wonderful person his mother was.

Don’t give me no lines and keep your hands to yourself

So we raise chickens. Well, that’s not completely accurate. We just purchased chickens a couple of months ago. It’s yet to be seen if we can actually raise them. We just had our first death today. Boy two came in to announce the death. He was somewhat cryptic about the circumstances of the death, so he was actually my primary suspect. He said he discovered the body in the coop, but when The Husband went to investigate, it was actually in the field. He had to elaborate on his story to explain this inconsistency:

I found it in the coop, picked it up by the leg, and threw it in the field. That’s why it’s in the field. 

First of all, gross.
Second of all, haven’t you ever watched CSI? You never tamper with the crime scene.
Third of all, gross, go wash your hands.

He comes back from the bathroom two seconds later with “clean hands.” Yeah right.

You did not wash your hands.
Yes I did.
No you didn’t. Let me smell them.

I lean in for the smell test. I had just enough time to determine that no soap had been used when he reached up and grabbed my face with his dead chicken hands. Are you kidding me?

I’m not sure what killed the chicken, but now I’m kind of hoping it was just blunt force trauma at the hands of Boy Two. At least that can’t be transmitted by skin to skin contact.