There are bugs, which we catch, study, and with much cajoling, release.
“I’m going to miss BT (a beetle). I’m really going to miss him.”
And lizards that we feed, spray and handle.
“Do you think Miter and Scrubby love us?”
And a turtle for the garden and one boy’s endless fascination.
“I like him. I just really like him.”
And there’s the reading of books about said creatures for there is much to know about the life and times of beetles, spiders and snakes. It is knowledge the boy soaks up and repeats with some false information, but all the right words. “Sam, what are you doing?” “I’m building an ecosystem.”
And there’s joy and constant plans for what’s next.
The reptiles carry salmonella, but they also carry his wonder and spark his unending curiosity. It is through them that he’s learned of Africa and South America, the Amazon, the Nile, places he now dreams of visiting. So, we wash our hands, put sanitizer next to the cage, and take our chances. To be a boy, a child, is to take those chances; to be a mom is to buy the sanitizer.