“There’s a baby lizard! A lizard! Mom, they hatched!” There’s screaming traveling up to my room like thunder. Loud, that is, only a kinder version of loud. So I oblige and I run downstairs bumping into my niece Maria, who’s smiling the biggest smile ever. Sasha is shaking with excitement and his little hands rake through the dirt in the container the kids set up for the baby lizards. A plastic container filled with dirt where four lizard eggs were placed two weeks ago with huge hopes that baby lizards will come out. Since I had my own childhood experience of hatching snail eggs in a glass jar I was both hopeful and encouraging of such endeavors. The day has come! Kids’ hands jump in and they are fighting over who’s going to have the first turn at holding the lizard. I am becoming equally eager to touch and possibly hold the tiny creature. There she is. the very definition of tiny and fragile is staring at us while we’re all staring at her. Him? Who cares anyway. I remember reading that some lizards are mostly female and the need for a male is similar to the need a fish has for a bicycle. So there, it’s such a trivial matter right now. Sasha has a turn. The needle-like tail is wrapped around Sasha’s index finger, tiny perfectly shaped eyes with the tiniest eyelids. Am I saying tiny a lot? That’s because the very word could use a makeover right now.
Each kid has a turn and that makes them talk at the same time in loud screechy voices. They make plans for the critter while I take a photo.
I get to hold the baby lizard too. It’s weightless. I can only feel its head poking at this space between my fingers, trying to hide from so many excited kids’ voices. I’d be terrified if I were that small. The baby lizard hatching party moves in the garden where we have a semi-official release of the tiny creature. Semi-official because the critter falls to the ground and takes off before we have a chance to say our fond good-byes. The kids are somewhat disappointed, they toyed with the idea of keeping the lizard as a pet but they met my firm-lipped no and there was no further pleading. Sasha’s still holding the remains of the egg, an off-white something that looks like the skin of some strange creature.
A second baby lizard gets the kids worked up a bit. It joins her sibling in the big wide world of my sister’s summery garden. The third lizard stirs things up a bit but you can tell it’s old news for the kids. Been there done that.
The fourth and last one hatches two days later. After a short petting episode the critter jumps down with a swift move and runs to join the big lizard stampede in the garden. Show’s over, no more eggs. Tony moves on to drawing some intricate mazes on paper while Sasha dons some self-made hiking gear plus some lizard food (bread pieces) and goes on a lizard-finding and feeding expedition. As he turns the corner around the house he asks for khaki shirt and shorts for his birthday. Steve Irwin’s getup, he explains. I say yes. Saying no to such request doesn’t seem right, so I will oblige.