Thursday, May 17, 2007

R.I.P. Sir Frog A Lot

I don't like having pets and this is why. It breaks my heart to see my children mourn over their dead pets. Ethan was given two frogs for his birthday. They were gifts from an uncle and cousin. This was in March. Only two months later, one of the frogs has croaked (couldn't resist.)

This is how it went down. A few days ago, the frog stopped eating and I told Ethan that it would probably die. For some reason, I think that if I tell him that it will happen soon, it will make it easier when it does. It doesn't. Yesterday morning as I was helping the girls get ready for school, I hear crying-no, wailing, coming from Ethan's room. I hurry in and there he is holding the tiny, dead frog in his hands. Ginormous alligator tears are streaming down his face. My heart sinks. I ask him if he is sure that it is dead. He rolls the frog over onto it's back and nothing. It's legs just dangle there. I tell him we should go bury it now.

We go outside, he is still crying uncontrollably and he finds a shovel and sets the frog down to dig a small hole. He digs. He asks me if that is good enough. I tell him it is just right. He lays the frog into the hole, still crying.

Just as he is about to cover the frog with dirt, IT MOVES! Wait! He stops crying.

I tell him to pick it up and we can see that it is still breathing. Great, we are gonna have to drag this out for another day. So Ethan puts the frog back in the tank and now he has a perma-grin. He is so happy. Which is perfect because I hate sending sad or angry children off to catch the bus.

Fast forward to 3:00. School is over, Ethan immediately checks the frog and it is definitely dead now. He must have used the majority of his tears in the morning because he just got a little watery eyed. He went back outside and buried the little green tree frog he affectionately named Sir Frog A Lot.

A few minutes later, I'm unloading the dishwasher and he is at the table making a burial sign which reads:

You were a good frog.
I loved you.
I love you,
Love, Ethan
Wednesday 2007

He places the folded up paper on top of the burial plot and secures it there with a pile of rocks. He comes back inside and is surprisingly happy. I give him a hug and he says at least someday when he dies, he will be able to be with his frog again. I tell him yes, and secretly pray that frogs will be resurrected too. And lizards. And fish.

I am realizing that it is good and necessary to have pets. Along with teaching them responsibility, it helps prepare our children to deal with death. It hurts, as parents, to see our children sad, but they are more resilient than we give them credit for. They are amazingly strong little humans.