Grandpa arrived late in the evening last July 3rd. It had been raining for days here in NC. So early the next morning, the kids grabbed Grandpa's hand and pulled him outside into the field near our house. Not long after the door shut behind them, my son came running back in holding out his fingers to me and sticking to them were a few slimy, clear blobs that had a dark spot in the middle.
"Frog eggs!" he announced triumphantly.
"Really?" I asked.
"Yes!" he said. "I found them in a puddle in the field."
"Hmm. Why don't you put them in your bug jar?" I suggested.
They spent the better part of an hour outside, and finally returned to the house with their jars full of dirty water. By that evening the dirt had settled and we could see a minature world inside.
The next morning, my husband lifted the pillow off my head to kiss me good-bye as he left for work. Before leaving the room, he mentioned that our kids were in for a surprise because the frog eggs had hatched. I grunted something unintelligible and went back to sleep. But when I awoke, my son's gap-toothed grin accompanied this...
Upon closer inspection, we discovered quite a few of these little wriggly tadpoles. So we spent the next few days watching them wriggle and grow. Before we knew it, they were quite large and it was time to transfer them to a larger container.
By this point we were worried about what to feed them, so we did a little research online and decided to boil some romaine lettuce for 10 minutes, then stored the pieces by freezing them in an ice cube tray with some water. The voracious little tadpoles ate two ice cubes of lettuce a day - sometimes more.
And the next thing we knew, we had back legs...
And then front legs!
And then their little tales began to disappear.
Then our babies were almost all grown up!
But then they were no longer content to eat lettuce. So it was time, I told my daughter, to let them free. And that's what she did a few nights ago during our last rainstorm. Well, she let two of them go. And we still have three that she is feeding fruit flies to. But after releasing the first two, she came back in broke into the absolute biggest smile on her face when I told her that she was now an official wildlife rescuer.
Science and learning opportunities are everywhere around us. We just have to be ready to grasp the opportunities when they pop up, before the chance to learn something incredibly beautiful and real slips away.