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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lifecycles: Tadpoles, Scene 2

     With sadness in our hearts, Butchy and I walked back to the pond but knew that Froggie would not have found his way back there without us. We would just spend our time practicing our frog language. For quite some time we listened and then began to imitate the sounds as best we could. Amazingly, the frogs began to respond! When the surface of the pond was clear of frogs, one of us gave the call as close to the one we heard as possible. Immediately after the sound, a frog popped up and began swimming towards the sound. Each of us in turn made the call and saw the frogs responding. What an exhilarating moment! It was not long before we had quite a number of frogs on our side of the pond. In our sadness over Froggie’s leaving, we had neglected to bring the Mayonnaise jar to try again. With our newfound success, we figured we could come back the next day since now we knew their call enough to attract their attention. It would be easy to get another guest frog tomorrow.
     Early on this third morning, Butchy and I walked to the pond. In the interim, however, we had decided that it might be better to try to take both a boy frog and a girl frog home with us. Maybe Froggie had left us because he was lonely. Besides, if we had a couple, we could have a family of frogs of our very own.  We could learn more of their language if there were more of them, right? We would look for two frogs so took two Mayonnaise jars with us this time. How did we know which was a male and which a female frog? Funny question… the bigger one is the male, of course.
     Once at the pond Butchy and I discovered there were eggs on the surface, right next to the blades of grass in the water. Could these be frog eggs? We had no idea but scooped up a bunch with the water and grass. That would leave only one jar for the adult so we would take the Mama frog today and return for the Papa frog the next day. We made the croaking sound in the place where the eggs had been and Butchy grabbed up the first frog that appeared. Home we went to install our new almost-family. The water was already warm because we had not emptied it from the previous day.
     Ever-so gently Butchy slid the eggs from the jar into the water. Then I let the Mama frog jump in, too. To us, she looked happy to be with the soon-to-be baby frogs in their new home. We were certain she would not abandon her eggs and, once we had the Papa frog in the tub, what more could they want? Life would be good for them. We would bring them fresh grass each day and make sure that their water was clean.
     Our suspicions of Mama’s contentment were confirmed the next day when, sure enough, Mama frog was still in the tub, sitting on a leaf. But where were her eggs? There were no eggs anywhere we could see. My mother would know what happened; she was a mother, too, wasn’t she?
     “Everything is just fine,” Mom said to us. “What you see here are her tadpoles. See these tiny little creatures swimming around?” Mom was pointing to something that looked a lot like a moving thread with a head and there were a lot of them, too. “The egg comes first and then these little creatures here. They are called tadpoles. After a while their tail there will get shorter and they will have legs. This happens until the tail is pretty much gone and they look just like the frogs you see in the pond, like the Mama frog here.” Wow, that was re-assuring, for certain. We had a family of frogs and all was well. Soon after, we left to fetch the Papa frog.
     It had been easy to find a frog with our croaking now understandable to the local pond population. But was it the right frog? How can we know that this big frog is the Papa frog for those tadpoles?
     By the next day, however, this concern was a nonissue.

****Lifecycles: Tadpoles, Scene 3, Coming Tomorrow

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