July 26th, 2005


Remember the Tiny Frog

The weather has finally broken. From three or four weeks of high 90s and 100+ temps, last night it finally broke and a huge thunderstorm blew in the area, dumped buckets of rain on us and then cooled everything off. Whew.

It did it while we were at the Rec. Center. We swam for two HOURS, pretty hard, too, while it rained. Jet had a lot of fun and got into the Lazy River, himself and swam around and around it several times before landing on the wall or one of us.

On the way out to Salad, as that's his favorite place in the world to eat after swimming, the world was Wet.

And on the slick concrete in front of the building, under a slew of bird nests built on the underside of the roof of the Rec. Center, were tiny, tiny frogs. Just a few of them. I found one, brown, tiny, hopping in the water right in front of the front door to the center. It was no bigger than the tip of Jet's tiny thumb, about the size of the fingernail on my pinky finger. I said, "Jet! Look!"

He turned, sturdy little guy that he was and crouched down to look at the tiny frog. He reached down and gently picked it up, cupping his hands around it loosely.

I regret what I next said, "Why don't you show Daddy?"

Jet looked up for his dad, and started towards him. The tiny frog leaped through a hole in Jet's loosely cupped hands, landed on the concrete just as Jet's sandaled foot came down on top of him. I thought I heard a tiny squeak-crunch.

"Oh, no! You stepped on him, Jet."

Jet moved his foot and I heard his intake of breath as he crouched down again and he gently touched the upsidedown, squished tiny frog. "Oh... I squished him." He nearly cried. I could hear his voice shaking.

We stood there for a while, as John stood waiting for us. "Dad! Daddy!" called Jet, "Come here!" And John came and examined the little squashed frog, "He's dead all right."

"Yeah. He's dead. I'm so sorry I stepped on him," said Jet. But as we walked, Jet thought a bit, "There's a hospital. A frog hospital, with a hospital frog, you know? He'll come get him. I was afraid that the birds were going to eat him, which is why I picked him up, so the hospital frog is going to have to be careful to not get eaten... but he'll make the tiny frog better..."

Which seemed to give Jet some comfort. He was pretty sorry so there was no point in rubbing it in.

There's times like these when I wish I wasn't a perfectionist, and had to go through every moment of what I'd done wrong and "should" have done better... but I did my best to not apply that to Jet or too much to John, and it was just a small tragedy of mistakes.

There were other squished frogs on the pavement, people coming out of the Center hadn't even looked down, I guess, but it was sad that we'd actually seen this one and it had still died.