One day, while I was visiting mother, my two sons were helping grandpa do chores around the house. Since the weather was fairly nice, my father left the door to the basement of the house open so they could come in and out easily. The boys were occupied for quite a while, but soon my three-year-old son came rushing up the stairs, screaming, “Ribbit, mommy, ribbit!” He repeated his message several times but I couldn’t understand what he was trying to say. Finally, I asked him, “Can you show me?” He nodded his head, grabbed my hand and starting pulling me toward the steps that went to the basement. He led me to a place in the basement, pointed toward the floor and said, “Ribbit, mommy, ribbit!”
Looking down, I realized what my son was trying so desperately to tell me. There on the floor next to one of the walls was a small green tree frog. My son was making the sound of a frog, mimicking the sound I made when reading one of his story books to him. My son apparently saw the frog come into the house, and he was panicked because of it!
Wanting to teach my son that frogs aren’t dangerous, I tried to catch the little creature. When I got near, it jumped. It startled me, and I jumped; then my son panicked, jumped and screamed!
I calmed my son down and tried to catch the frog two more times, but he was too quick for me. Each time I grabbed for the frog, the critter jumped, I jumped, and my son screamed.
Soon my father came inside and asked, “What’s all the commotion? Did I hear screaming?”
I explained what had happened and showed my dad the tree frog.
“Oh, brother!” he said. Then he tried to catch the frog. Again, the creature jumped, dad jumped, I jumped, and my son let out another scream.
“This is ridiculous!” my father said. Again, he tried to catch the frog--this time with success! Then, creature in hand, my father showed my son that the frog wasn’t dangerous. Then together they took the small critter outside.
Since that time our family has remembered this incident and laughed many times. Yet it still amazes me how my three-year old could recognize the frog, associate the sound I made with the picture from a storybook, and communicate it too me. Yet somehow this mom couldn’t make out what he was trying to say!
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