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Monday, May 10, 2010

Tadpole Release Party

I think I've mentioned before that my girls' regard for living creatures could not be more opposite.  Kayla adores them ALL - giraffes to salamanders.  50% of the time she thinks she IS one.

Ashlyn's interest extends about as far as her Backyardigans fruit snacks.

Early last month, my mom and KK went on a nature walk up on Sawyer Camp Trail.  Lucky for me, they came home with 5 tadpoles.

Cotton Candy, Jelly Bean, Chocolate Bar, Candy Cane and Gum Drop.

Unfortunately we lost Chocolate Bar a few weeks in.  He/she is buried somewhere in the backyard.  OK, well actually he/she was flushed down the toilet but we are "pretending" he/she was buried somewhere in the backyard.

Their "habitat" (one of KK's favorite words) was a Rubbermaid container filled with fresh rain water.  Tadpoles do not tolerate tap water because of the chlorine and flouride content.

We also included rocks, sticks and strawberry tops (which they love to eat) and would set it outside for a refill each time it rained.

Cotton Candy and Jelly Bean grew up, overnight.  Literally.  On Tuesday they were happily darting underwater in the Rubbermaid.  Sometime late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning, their tails fell off and they began to plot their great escape.

 Such rapid evolution (and preservation of whatever sanity I had left) necessitated their release.

Thus, the idea of a Tadpole Release Party was born (thank you, Kim).

Candy Cane and Gum Drop had not quite made it to frog-hood  yet but were invited to the party because the habitat maintenance was getting to be a bit much.  I began checking the weather forecast more often that one should (which is any time greater than once) and spending my free time scoping out freshwater sources in San Mateo County.

So I realized it was time for them to go.  Or for me to go...  to a home somewhere with a padded cell.

We packed up our precious pets and said the first of many goodbyes.  Ashlyn is only pretending to be interested because they are leaving.

My parents, the girls and I traveled back up to Sawyer Camp Trail for the big event.

We hiked a few 100 yards in and found a lovely freshwater stream just off the trail that would make for a perfect new home.

Kayla and I hiked down to the stream while Nan, Pops and Ashy watched from the trail above.

I thought the idea of having a "party" would make letting go a little easier.


Tadpole Release Party rapidly evolved into Tadpole Release Crisis.  Of gargantuan proportion.

She did fine saying goodbye to Candy Cane and Gum Drop.  Easier, I think, because they were still tadpoles and not as interesting.

Her face was looking a bit more troubled when Jelly Bean hopped away.

The thought of losing Cotton Candy sent her into a hysterical frenzy.

She held him/her in her hand and wailed LOUD:

"But, mama!   He is too LOVELY to let go-oooooooo"

At this point people are stopping mid-jog, looking down at her and staring.

Pop Pop mentions ice cream (normally our "ace in the hole" to right any wrong situation) and that didn't even help.

Ashlyn, the child that can barely hear anything, of course hears my dad speak of mint chip and starts frantically rambling and signing about ice cream.

Meanwhile, Kayla is still mourning the inevitable loss of Cotton Candy.

She has kicked off both pink Crocs and is standing barefoot in the stream.  And her screaming, only getting louder.

"Please, mama!  PAH-LEASEEEEE.  He is just so cute and lovely! SO gorgeous!  I just cannot bare to let him go-ooooooo!"

"Ice Cream...  Ice Cream...  Ice Cream...  Ice Cream..."
coming from the little one still standing on the trail, oblivious to the drama taking place below.

It was then that I noticed it.

Leaves of three.  Let them be.

Poison Oak.

Ever since Kayla's Bunker Hill preschool days, she has been abnormally paranoid of the poison oak plant.

Primarily because Teacher Kelly warned them about it as if it were the 21st century version of the bubonic plague.

I may have also told her that her arms and legs would fall off if she touched it.

Her fear of the lethal shrub easily trumped her loyalty to Cotton Candy.  She said one last goodbye and tossed him/her into the stream.

Still sobbing and shaking somewhat uncontrollably, she made her way back to her Crocs and placed them on her feet.

She sulked up the rocks and towards the trail.

Ashlyn was there waiting, still mumbling about ice cream.  She did, however, pause to help console her big sister.

Although I think she was just ushering her to the car to get to the mint chip faster.

And here we are, 45 minutes later.  Still noticeably distraught, eating ice cream at Nan and Pops.

Please direct your attention to the right hand.  Pretending, wishing, dreaming she is still holding a frog.  Such a sad life.

Moral of the story, as I type with blistery, rash-covered, oozing arms on Mother's Day.

Tadpoles are like poison oak leaves.  Let them be.


  1. You're hilarious! :)

  2. Wow, Jess. You're quite the writer and quite the mom! Definitely enjoyed this story and the pictures to go with it. Couldn't help but smile about all this. If KK ever needs an animal fix, take em over to the zoo at my mom's house. I've got a fish tank over there that I left my mom when I moved to Michigan, she's been taking good care of it. Moral of that story... just wait, it'll get better :). Hope you and the fam are doing well.

  3. Ahhhhh! You crack me up! You are such a great writer and I love the drama your girls create :) Thanks for keeping me entertained.

  4. this is by far your best post yet!

    I am so impressed. I actually teared a little at the photo of Ashlyn comforting Kayla....

    best yet! <3

  5. Carol (Garnett) PattersonMay 10, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    WOW - you are the best writer. I loved following you on this journey. Life with Jess and her girls - Gotta love it. Hope you're feeling better.

    this is by FAR my favorite blog
    the pictures are freaking hilarious
    unfortunate for her, i will me teasing her about this in her jr. high/high school years (:

  7. Jess, you are absolutely hilarious. The thought of little Ashlyn frantically signing mint chip makes me smile :) The girls are growing up so fast and I love being able to watch it on your blog!

  8. Oy Vey....I am crying....from laughing! Love that girl!!! Next release on the master Teacher Kelly, she would have KK and "friends" up the creek to the waterfall in ten flat....and I am almost sure there would be minimal crying.....most likely a new pet going home from bhill....but minimal crying.....and lots and lots of leaves of three!!!!

  9. I love you Jessica. Here's the rest of the poem:

    Leaves of three, leave it be
    If its' hairy, it MAY be a berry
    If its' shiny watch your hiny

    Here's my snake stripes to teach Kayla:

    Red on black friend of Jack
    Red on yellow, kill a fellow

    We have a new hiking trail at BH, stop by and see me. Technu soap works really good after a hike in the woods. It gets all the poison oak oils off your skin before it spreads. You should own a bottle.

  10. I love you. I am sorry about your rash! best post ever

  11. Bwahahahaha! This is fabulous!

  12. Ever since you showed me the picture of the wailing Kayla, I have had it on my list of posts to read. Precious story & not only are you a great writer, your photos or the timing of them are perfect. Loved it Jess & look forward to more.