There’s quite a big of hand-washing going on at my house.  That’s because we’ve had more animal news than usual.

It started back at the end of March.  Benny won a fish at the JCC’s Purim Carnival.  I wouldn’t have let him play the game if I’d have look at the prizes, but he won it fair and square.  The woman who manned the booth was a little offended at my surprise.  "Yes," she said.  "You are now responsible for another living thing."  As she gave me the fish food and the directions, I wondered if she noticed I was already responsible for two other living things, one of which had just played her dumb ring toss game.  I also, very nicely, didn’t point out that if she cared so much about the stupid fish she shouldn’t have 100 of them in captivity to give to 3 and 4 year olds.

Lea named our little Beta fish Blue Wonder, and we keep it on the ledge from our kitchen into the playroom.  It may be too easy for the kids to reach; we’ve had quite a few close calls.  A few days after we got it, Lea started yelling for me to come quick!  The fish had "flipped out" (her words) and was just flopped there, next to the little bowl.  I was sure it was already gone, but I forced myself to grab it and put it back in the water.  It was fine.  So was I after a good bit of soap and hand sanitizer.  Yechh.

We had another incident about a week ago.  We don’t have a fish tank, we just clean out the bowl every couple of days and put B.W. back in.  During a transfer, he dropped into the sink and started flopping toward the drain (and the disposal!).  Again, I had to pick up a fish with my bare hands and get him back to safety. 

We’ve also got a butterfly project going on in the house. My sister got Lea the kit for her birthday in November.  You send away for the caterpillars but you have to wait for warm weather.  They came about two weeks ago and so far so good. 

We’ve watched five caterpillars turn into chrysalises and transfered them from their little jar over to the butterfly garden thing that comes with the kit.  In about a week we should have butterflies.  If this works, it’ll be one of the best birthday presents ever – Lea has been keeping a science journal through all this and she can’t wait for the butterflies.  If these guys turn out to be duds, we’re in for big trouble.  If it goes as planned, we’ll be releasing five Painted Ladies into our backyard.

They can join the newest natural addition there – a little tree frog.  Our block ends with a cul-de-sac and the homes in the end have a creek in their backyards.  They get a lot of little critters, including the frog Lea caught.  She couldn’t believe it (and neither could I).  Afraid the little boy who lives there would try to hurt her new acquisition, she decided to bring it home and put it in our backyard pond.  I urged her to just let it go (while it was still alive) but she insisted in carrying it all the way up the street and back to our house. 

Benny, Slade and I lagged behind; she was walking pretty quickly, trying to keep her hands together and get to our pond before the frog could make a get-away.  We were passing our next door neighbor’s driveway when we heard her shouting, "He’s swimming!"  Sure enough, we all ran up to our little backyard pond in time to see the little guy zipping his way around. 

Back inside to break out more soap and sanitizer.