School ended yesterday and Asher came home gleefully with a tadpole. Aren’t we lucky? he asked. The teacher chose my family to nurture the little wiggly creature into a bullfrog.

Clifford (named in memory of Asher’s first goldfish, who passed on three years ago) came home in a large ziploc bag with tiny pebbles and either food or poop pellets floating about in the murky water. Since I had no suitable home for this unexpected addition to our family, I used a steak knife to eviscerate the lid of a large tupperware container so the little guy can breathe.

I can’t put him in our fish tank. A quick Google search informed us that goldfish eat tadpoles. And I can’t put him in there when he evolves because apparently bullfrogs eat fish.

What do we feed him? I asked Asher. He quickly scanned the label on the fish food container. This will work, he said.

But then he fled to the computer to search again and informed me that Clifford eats lettuce – you have to boil it first, Mommy – or algae. Since I don’t have a stash of algae in the house, I guess I’m boiling lettuce. (Like I have time for this!)

When Clifford becomes a bullfrog (it takes 2 years, Mommy – though I’m not sure I believe him, back to Google), he’ll be carnivorous. And he’ll need land. I guess then I’ll be free to let him go in the wild. If we make it that far.

A great end to a great school year, it seems. I now have a first-grader, a fourth-grader and a fifth-grader and soon, Grace will graduate to third grade. We are moving on up.

And the family has grown larger in the blink of an eye. Last night I dreamt that I was pregnant. I’m not – thank God – so it must be anxiety rifling through my unconscious, reminding me by the surprise that riffled through me in my sleep that I was done adding to my family. We are complete as we are – no unexpected unannounced surprises, thank you very much.

I know it’s just a tadpole. And I have to admit, it’s pretty darn cute. I’ve never seen a tadpole quite this closeup before – only in magazines and science books, and mostly as illustrations rather than full-on photographs. He looks straight at me. He wiggles fiercely. I can’t imagine what it’ll be like when he starts to sprout limbs and transform from a little lithe creature to something far more complex.

Yes, I get the metaphor.

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