You've been wondering how Cricket-Catcher's doing, haven't you?
Of course you have.
He lives such an exciting life, especially starting a couple of months ago when Alex got it in his head that we could tame Cricket-Catcher and perhaps allow him periods of time outside his tank – a vacation of sorts – when he could relax on the leaves of the leaning Bird-of-Paradise in the music room and listen to his favorite CDs on shuffle, perhaps, while waiting for the waitstaff (us) to bring him crickets and tiny drinks with even tinier umbrellas in them.
You might remember this post, where Bill had taken the lizard from his tank and attempted to sooth his wild, savage heart with gentleness and lizard-whispering, with Alex looking on, thinking lizard-gentling thoughts.
Didn't really work, and the project was shelved. Wild is wild, and the lizard has no desire to be domesticated, no matter how fancy the cocktails are.
Mid-December, Bill and Alex brought the lizard tank into the bathroom to clean it or prune the philodendron or something. I was in the kitchen. Julia was………….either in the bathroom with the boys and the lizard, or somewhere nearby. Suddenly there was a great excited commotion and I was summoned by one or both offspring. I grabbed my camera (National Geographic theme music pounding in my head, of course) and raced the few feet to the bathroom door.
Once I'd knocked the secret knock and provided the proper password, I was allowed in, and here's what I saw:
His hopes were crushed, however, when Bill reached up and plucked Cricket-Catcher from the wall and popped him back in the tank.
Less than a week later, after sulking and glaring at us and probably swearing in lizard-speak, he decided to turn over a new leaf, shed his skin, and resign himself to his fate.
Alex thought it would be cool to track the shedding frequency, so that's what we'll be doing this year. Every time the lizard sheds, it's because he's getting bigger. We're kind of curious to see how often he's getting bigger, and with that information we could, hopefully, predict when he will be able to push the cover off his tank, break free, and bite us in our sleep. Payback, you know.
As Christmas neared, the kids wrote their letters to Santa, we baked cookies, and so on. A few days later, Alex asked if he could write another letter to Santa, to let him know which stocking was the lizard's, and which of the three smallest stockings belonged to which cat. I said that was a lovely idea, and told Alex to go ahead and write.
Interestingly enough, we were at a milk-and-cookies party hosted by the parents of one of Julia's classmates, and – wonder of wonders – Santa stopped by. Really! The kids got to sit with him and chat…Santa got to relax and kick off his boots and discuss his healthier eating habits…and when it was Alex and Julia's turn to spend some quality time with the great man, Santa said to Alex "Now, you have a lizard, don't you? What was his name…." Alex's jaw dropped, eyes opened wide, and he filled in the blank – "Cricket-Catcher!" Alex made sure to let Santa know that Cricket-Catcher's stocking was the light blue one over on the left – just in case the letter didn't make it to the North Pole on time.
And of course, Santa came through.
On Christmas morning, Alex was overjoyed – no exaggeration – to find a little wrapped package peeking out of the top of the lizard's stocking. We had Alex open the package, since he'd been so concerned about Cricket-Catcher's holiday to begin with.
And what did Santa bring, you ask?
Well, I guess Santa wanted to give the lizard the feeling of a vacation, even if we weren't going to let him out of the tank after all.
He didn't use it for a couple of days, but then, suddenly, he was on it all the time. It's his favorite spot now. The hammock is in the front left corner of his tank, so he can lounge there and watch our comings and goings in complete comfort.
Now all we need to do is set up a little table and bring him a tiny drink with a tiny umbrella in it.