The Salamander Story

Friday, June 12, 2009

Why do I always have to open my big mouth? My Rebecca loves a good story. If you catch her interest, she wants you to tell it to her over and over (and over and over ... ). We've been through this several times in the past year. First it was the story of Anne Frank, which I told her after Greg and I went on a Neutral Milk Hotel kick about a year ago. She wanted to hear about Anne, her 2+ years hiding in an attic, her capture, why she was sent to prison, how she died, how her father found her journal and published it, etc., etc., ETC.! Finally, I got tired of making up the parts I didn't know. I checked a book out of the Holden library about Anne, and we read it together. It was a children's National Geographic book - I figured at 4, Rebecca was a little too young to sit through/understand Anne's actual diary.

Then the was the "Into the Wild" soundtrack which prompted the telling and retelling the sad story of Christopher McCandless. Then, we saw a fox on the side of the road with 2 babies. This somehow resulted in many retellings of the story of the only person known to have survived rabies.

A spotted salamander

So I should have been ready earlier this week. We were driving in the car to my Mom and Dad's, who were babysitting when she said, "Mom - did you know once I got a bloody nose, and the blood dripped down my shirt?". I hadn't known about that. Five minutes later, I got another story which I won't repeat about peas and her digestive system. Finally I had to ask, "Rebecca, are you trying to gross me out?". The truth was out. At this point, a normal Mom would probably try to change the subject or something. But not me. I decided to get into a gross out contest. After several lame attempts, I finally resorted to my salamander story. A few of you may know I have some kind of weird love/hate relationship with amphibians (as opposed to reptiles, where it is pretty much hate/hate). We have Amy, the frog in our pond. We also used to have a spotted salamander that lived in a drain in our basement. I ran upstairs screaming the first time I saw it, but I came to accept it. I haven't seen the salamander in about a year now. It used to go away for a month or so, and I would think it was gone for good, and then I'd go downstairs to start the laundry and there it would be, sitting on our drain. But it's never been gone anywhere near this long. I even kind of miss it. I'm choosing to believe it had a peaceful, geriatric salamander death somewhere in our drain than the alternative (that there is something bigger living in my basement that ate it).

But this story is not about that salamander. It is the first of two creepy amphibian events in my early childhood, which are probably the root of a lot of my issues. I find it creepy and disturbing, and I don't really like telling it. But I had to win this gross out contest, so I pulled it out. At the end of the story, she was quiet for a minute, and then she said "Mom, tell it again". I told it one more time, but when she asked for a third telling, I came to my senses and told her the story creeped me out, and I didn't want to tell it again. She agreed that I had also succeeded in creeping her out (Yes!) and I hoped that was the end of it. At my Mom and Dad's, Greg and I were walking out the door when she asked me to tell it again. Uh oh. I think I know what her new favorite story is going to be. What could I say? Here it is. Me: "Honey, Daddy and I have to go now." Rebecca: "Please?" Me: "You already know the story." Rebecca: "I don't want to forget it." Me: "I'll tell you what, why don't you tell it to Grandma and Grandpa after we leave?"

Sorry Mom and Dad!

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