I love having boys. I love the purity of their energy. Their drive. Their fierce passion to compete, to do, to be. And yet every now and then, when my son Ty fills my purse with sticks and rock gardens, shoves weedy flowers in my pockets, or creates snail houses with my tupperware, I wonder what it would be like to have a shy, pink-cheeked girl who liked dresses and dolls and princess costumes.
Yesterday driving to Sinclair’s for dinner my son Ty, who is buckled into his booster chair in the back seat says, ‘hey, there’s my slug’ in a happy, chirpy voice. I knew Ty was holding his slug house on his lap (a blue small to medium tupperware box with two ventilation holes) and glancing into the rearview mirror I see him holding the tupperware lid with a nice big fat slug in the middle.
It’s not what I want to look at before dinner. I don’t see anything pretty about slugs. They’re long and grayish brown and damp looking and…just really unappealing. But since I haven’t agreed to Ty buying his gecko or newt yet, Ty’s been building his own animal (read bug and slug) habitats with my tupperware and stuff from the gardens. It’s essentially a good, creative idea. And cheap. I’ve lots of soil and pebbles and leaves. And apparently slugs. And Ty can practice his nurturing skills.
So gross but that’s beside the point.
I’m still driving to Sinclair’s when Ty asks, ‘Mom, how do I put the lid back on without smashing Slimey’s eyes?’
Cranking my head around like Linda Blair in the Exorcist I see the slug hovering over the edge of the tupperware lid. Disgusting. I really could use a girl that loves playing with Barbie and cute accessories.
I suggest to Ty that he use a leaf and push Slimey towards the middle of the lid and then close it fast.
This works and Ty carries his Slug House around Sinclair’s garden and finds another slug or two. It’s a magical evening. Sinclair relates. She used to raise snails at one point–had twenty, even let them crawl on her legs (this is *not* the kind of girl I want).
Back at home boys go to bed, Ty says goodnight to Slimey and his pals and leaves Slug House on my antique Irish sideboard in the hall.
This morning after breakfast–some purply pop-tart–Ty goes to check on his pet slugs. I tell him to check on them outside as I don’t want the container to spill inside.
And then Ty shouts, ‘They’re gone, Mom! They’ve vanished. I’m not kidding. I’m not kidding. They’re gone.’
And he brings me the blue tupperware box with plants and dried up leaves that are minus any signs of slug life.
They were there when we went to bed.
And then a minute later I find one on the kitchen floor, stretched out, creeping along near the pantry. It’s almost the same shade as my hardwood and the bulldog puppy wants to jump on it. I call for Ty who is still lamenting his loss, and he grabs a cereal spoon and starts trying to scoop it up as Jake yells at Ty not to use a spoon we eat with. Slug finally recaptured and restored to Slug House I make Ty look for the others. I look for the others. Jake even looks but we don’t find them.
And I seriously suspect it’s right into my nice plush carpet.