I think God gives us kids so we remember to enjoy the simple things in life.

Pic courtesy of toprankblog.com

Amy is my 5 year old stepdaughter and she’s a real firecracker who is more so 5-going-on-25. She’s a bright little girl who likes the color pink, wearing sundresses and yet can be a real tomboy who isn’t afraid of any bug, monster, or getting dirty. She likes bugs. I do not. In fact, if I find a spider or other bug in the house, I get Amy to come and get it. She’ll pick it up, examine it closely and release it outside. Gotta love it! Just like last summer when we went for an ice cream and while she was sitting enjoying hers, a horrifying ugly flying bug landed on her arm. I was ready to jump up and down in hysterics and it wasn’t even my arm. Amy however, noticed the bug, brought her arm in closer to her face, stared at it intensely from every angle – perhaps committing it’s form to memory, and then flicked it off calmly… all while never missing one single lick of her ice cream!

On Friday after school she proudly brought home “Mrs. Slimy Panda”, the snail. In true 5 year old fashion, the name makes no sense. This snail wasn’t brought home on the end of her finger or in her pocket, but rather, in an actual mini-aquarium type thing. All the kids in her class got to bring home a snail and its own place to live. Why, I have no idea. Part of a class project I assume.

I was formally introduced to said snail Saturday morning when Amy came down the stairs to give me a closer look at her new friend while I was sipping my morning tea at the kitchen table. She looked somewhat sad and I thought Oh dear Lord, do not tell me this thing has died already.

“My snail needs to be spritzed with water, Janet.” she said. “He can’t dry out.”

She looked at me like this….

Yup… pretty darn cute…

I looked into the little aquarium… I didn’t see him. Anywhere. My eyes quickly scanned the items that WERE in there…I saw the rock, the leaf, the piece of chalk, the soil, the small piece of lettuce, the pop bottle top that serves as either a water dish or a pool – I’m not sure, but no snail.

“Uhhhhh….where’s the snail?” I asked, trying to conceal my panic and imagining she left it somewhere in the house… like the sofa, her bed, or *gasp*… my bed. She held the little cage up higher and said calmly and rather matter-of-factly, as if I should have known, “He’s on the roof.”

I got down to her level and peered up into the cage. Sure enough it was sitting upside down on the roof. I quickly grabbed a spray bottle and watched as she morphed into zookeeper mode. She removed the lid with precision placing it gently down on the table revealing the little snail going about its business, she lovingly tapped one finger on its shell in a petting motion, then directed the nozzle to the contents of the cage and gave everything a few doses of water as if she’d been doing this job for years.

The snail lives here…

“Snails can live for years you know.” she said as she put down the spray bottle and put her nose within an inch of the snail who was exploring the bright yellow roof of his cage.

“Is that so?” I said, watching carefully so that she didn’t get any ideas of letting him slide around on the table.

“Yup. And they hibernate as well.”

“Wow. I didn’t know that.” I tell her.

“Squirrels and badgers hibernate too, Janet.” she said, resting her chin on her hand and staring at the snail. “You have to be careful picking it up because if the shell breaks, it’ll die. There’s chalk in his cage because they like to eat it. But it can’t eat salt or it will die so don’t put any salt in here. And when they crawl they leave behind a trail of slime. It needs the slime so it can move along.”

This was more informative than watching a nature show. And if you think she’s smart, you should see her older sister.

“Ohhhhh” I said and looked in the little cage. A blue colored orb caught my eye. “What is that? Is that a blueberry in there?” I asked.

“Uh huh. They like blueberries so I put one in there for a snack.” she said confidently. I couldn’t help but smile. The blueberry was as big as the snail. A snack… hmmm… more like a lifetime supply.

The snail and its assortment of snacks…

I decided to take a seat in the room adjacent to the kitchen where I could still watch her adoration for this little creature and she could still delight me in her knowledge.

“I’ve studied snails for most my life.” she says.

I almost burst out laughing. “Oh yah?” I said.

“Yep. We’ve been studying them in class. I’m kinda an expert. If you need to know anything about snails, you can just ask me. And when I go to my moms house you can play with him while I am gone, I wont mind.”

At that moment, her father walks in toting a wrench or some other tool for the handiwork he was doing outside. “Oh Dad, if you need to know anything about snails you can just ask me, okay?”

He smiled and said, “Okay. Is his name Gary the Snail?”

“Noooo Daaaaad, Gary is the name of Spongebob’s snail.”

“Ohhhhh.” he responds.

“Do you have any other questions though?” she asks.

He was fiddling with something on the counter at this point and said, “Uhhh… what color pants does your snail wear?”

Amy slaps her hand on her forehead and says, “He doesn’t wear pants Daaaaaaad, he doesn’t have legs.”

“Oh.” he says smiling. “Does he have any shoes?”

She rolls her eyes. “Noooo, he doesn’t have shoes because he doesn’t have feet, Daaaaaaaad. Snails dont have legs or feet you know.”

He winks at me and says to Amy, “Then how can he dance?”

She sighs deeply and says, “They don’t dance either daaaaaaad.” She sounded like a teenager with her long drawn out “Daaaaaaaad” expression.

Kinda cute…

After a few seconds she picked up the snail and let him/her squirm around on her finger. The mere thought grossed me out and so I directed my attention to my cup of tea. My concentration was broken only by her giggles as she announced happily, “The snail won’t come off my finger!”  Gross. Like, ewwwwwwww. But she was in bug owner heaven. How sweet.

She thought for a moment and then discovered that the snail would likely willingly come off her finger if she got its favorite rock and enticed it with that. It worked like a charm.

Within minutes Mrs. Slimy Panda was back in its cage and Amy was all smiles.

Like I said, I think God gives us children so we appreciate the little things. Who’d have thought that a sticky snail could bring so much delight?