It's no secret that my almost-three-year-old is a little bit obsessed with all mini beasts, we bought him a little bug box to keep his new found friends to look at during the day and say goodbye to on a night when we released them.
I would like to clarify I am NOT a lover of bugs. They creep me out. I wouldn't ever harm them, I teach the kids to never kill spiders. But the thought of them slimy, creepy, crawly, spiky... Uhh it makes me shudder. But of course with all things mum, you grit your teeth and smile and pretend everything is ok- along as they enjoy these disgusting things (much like when they shit in the bath and find it borderline hilarious/terrifying-but that's a different story).
So anyway, our story begins on Father's Day. We had been out for the day, and as usual Tommy was searching in the garden as we were all scrambling into the house and out of the rain.
He came in with a snail, standard. He put the snail in his little box, and didn't want me to shut the lid, something I normally protest a little, but he had been good and I didn't want to trigger a potential meltdown at 6pm on a Sunday night, and thought "what's the worst that could happen from letting him have some time investigating his new little friend?"
Well a few weeks later I would be eating my own words.
Little did I know, Tommy and his little pal became bonded really quickly. Sharing a meal, a bath, and very nearly a bed all in their first day together!
Luckily I managed to talk him out of co sleeping with the snail, but he begged me kicking and screaming not to say goodbye. So I promised he would still be here in the morning. Ffs.
So, kids in bed, snail in very tiny bug box, me and my husband looked at each other and asked "what the fuck should we do now?"- he wasn't going to let it go.
If you've ever met Tommy, you will know he is, what we like to call 'spirited'. He knows what he wants. Who was I to take it away from him? It was Sunday night, no shops were open and I had promised my boy his snail would be here in the morning. Alive.
So at this point I thanked my lucky stars that someone really clever thought up the idea of Amazon Prime Now; Online shopping delivered to your door within two hours. Actually genius. So we had a house and a set up for BB8 by 11pm, and woke up with a very happy little boy.
We researched how to keep them, and to be honest I got a bit attached (though I still can't touch them), and treat them to some moss and a cuttlefish bone.
He often brings in more snails as he finds them in the garden, and one of the older ones he brought in, who he named Darth Vader, started acting strange one day. Good old Google informed me she (he? They're hermaphrodites didn't ya know), was burrowing to make a nest... Yep. She was having babies. What the fuck are we going to do with what Google informed us would be upto 100 snail eggs?!?
In all honesty, the kids have loved learning about them and seeing the eggs Darth Vader laid so kindly in a little viewing corner in the tank. They're just about hatching now, and when they're old enough we will take them to the local nature reserve and release them, though we will keep BB8 of course!
Tommy is a wild one and is a whirlwind most of the time, but he really loves caring for the snails. He helps clean the tank out, he puts the food in their food dish and even baths them (which they love by the way-yes, honestly). He is so gentle with them, which is amazing to see. As crazy as it seems, the snails have brought out a different side to him, and I'm so glad my instinct was to let him keep them as he is doing a really good job helping care for them.
Even if Darth Vader has just laid another 100+ eggs-It's all learning, right? I've just ordered a second tank for the snail babies, who knows, maybe I'll learn to love them? I think it's kind of cool we have pet snails. Until we lose one in the house. Then I will lose my shit.