Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Tale of the Brave Kid and the Salamander

I spent the weekend building a chicken coop in my backyard. The kids are incredibly excited about the prospect of keeping chickens so they're trying to help when and where ever they can. For example, part of the coop project involved the family teaming up to remove a planting bed. The four of us attacked it with shovels and saws. At one point we lifted a large chunk of wood and found a salamander hiding beneath it. My 7 year old quickly rushed over and said "I want to pick it up!" My wife and I exchanged puzzled-yet-proud looks, as typically our kids don't rush to volunteer to pick up things like salamanders (this one happened to be an Aneides lugubris or Arboreal Salamander).

Anyway, we needed to move the guy/gal to a safer part of the yard so we let her come over and pick it up. She bent down slowly and expertly scooped it into her hands.

And it promptly scooted up into her sleeve! My poor brave daughter was laughing, screaming for help, and crying all at the same time. She was trying to hold her other hand against her sleeve in order to stop the salamander from wriggling even further up her arm, but at the same time, we're telling her to be careful not to squish the poor thing.

"It's up my sleeve! It's up my sleeve! Help! Now it's in my arm pit!!! It tickles! HELP!"

It may have taken me an extra second to rush to her aid as I tried to hold in my own laughter.

Eventually, the poor animal found its way out and fell safely into a nice bed of leaves where it scuttled out of sight.

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