Honey, Did You Flip the Toad?

22 02 2010

We’ve added another item to the Bedtime Checklist at our house. Yep. Right after Let the Dogs Out, Check the Kid, the Outdoor Lights, the Doorlocks…there’s Flip the Toad.

Last September, my four-year-old son, Theo, caught a baby toad in our back yard. Long story short…we kept the little critter — who’s scored quite the plush digs. We call him Toad the Wet Sprocket after the 90s band — TTWS for short.

A couple of weeks ago, TTWS fell ill. He stopped eating, could only open his right eye, and was lethargic. And, his condition caused him to be, well, off balance…

The first time I passed his terrarium and saw him on his back, his little webbed feet sprawled in all directions, I cringed. I was sure he was toast and was just beginning to contemplate what one does with toad, er, remains when I saw him blink. Poor little guy was alive — just stuck in a most compromising position.

So, I reached in and flipped him over. He shook it off and hopped over to his favorite spot — a little flower pot in the corner. Let the toad flipping begin…

Now, of course, while my head tells me he’s just a toad…my heart tells me different. So, I called our friend Kyle, who’s a naturalist. He outlined several possible scenarios — and their remedies. I tried each one — and hit payday. TTWS was on the mend…but still had a few, er, balance issues.

Pretty soon, checking the toad’s position when we passed his cage became the routine. I’d find myself reaching in to turn the poor guy right-side-up a few times a day, and I’d notice my husband, Don, doing the same. If it’s possible for any toad to exhibit gratitude, it’s TTWS.

A word of warning for pet toad owners everywhere — toad flipping can become quite the commitment. Saturday, after returning from a birthday party, I walked in and noticed that TTWS was, once again, on his back. We’d been gone for hours and I wondered just how long he’d been staring at the ceiling…he was noticeably relieved when I reached in to flip him.

Thankfully, the little guy is regaining his strength, which, translated, means a slowdown on the daily required toad flipping at our house. And, come Spring, if all goes as planned, we’ll be releasing him back to the wild so that he can carry on…

But I’ll never forget him. After all, he’s added something rich to our family’s repertoire…just before bed, you can be sure I’ll be asking Don, “Honey, did you flip the toad?”

And maybe, just maybe, if I catch him off guard, I’ll hear him utter, “Dagnabbit!” as he hauls himself out of bed to go check…



One response

17 03 2010

Not sure about letting the toad go on to a life of his own the last time I talked to Theo.

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