Saturday, July 28, 2012

Frogs, Toads, and Things That Glow in the Dark

All three of my kids still have those plastic glow-in-the-dark stars stuck to the ceilings of their bedrooms right over their beds.  My middle child also had a glow-in-the-dark book about stars and planets, glow-in-the-dark paint, glow-in-the-dark balls, glow-in-the-dark stickers, and several little glow-in-the-dark plastic frogs.  As a matter of fact, thanks to me, he had a whole collection of frogs: plastic poison dart frogs, bean bag frogs, a frog that hopped when you gave it a puff of air, frogs that squirted water, and a frog whose tongue popped out when you squeezed it.  He also had all the Frog and Toad books (by Arnold Lobel), A Toad for Tuesday, and Warton and Morton (by Russell Erickson).   I used to tell people, "Darton loves frogs and toads and things that glow in the dark.  It wasn't until a couple of years ago when he was cleaning out his room that I realized Darton only liked frogs and toads and things that glow in the dark--I was the one who loved them.  I search for toads in the garden and love feeling their bumpy skin as I cradle them gently in my hands.  I am mesmerized by the way tadpoles changed into frogs.  And for some reason, I am fascinated and comforted by things that glow in the night after the lights are turned off.  Somehow, without realizing it, I projected my own interest and affection for amphibians and phosphorescence onto my son.  He was a science and nature guy, so that was part of it.  He played with the frogs, experimented with the glow-in-the-dark toys and enjoyed the stories, but for him, they were just a casual interest, never a passion.  So all of this has me wondering how often we parents do this--mistakenly assume our kids love something just because we do?  We inevitably leave our fingerprints all over our kids as they are growing up, and we can't help but share our interests and passions with them.  But as I've been reminded so many times over the years, our kids are very much their own people, not little replicas of us.  And that's just how it should be.  Now what am I going to do with all these frogs?


  1. I know a bunch of home school kids who would love them if you're looking to find another home for them.

    1. I'll keep that in mind, KM--if I can bear to part with them!