How many of you parents out there have uttered those fateful words prior to entering a toy store? Now how many of you actually stuck to your word? The ones with their hands still raised are lying!
On Sunday, after looking at every single item in Kaleidoscope Toys in Falmouth, Will found something he really wanted. But I had drilled it into him that we weren’t getting a toy and any whining would result in us leaving the store immediately. He grabbed his coveted item and instantly spun around with wide eyes to ask me if he could have it—but he stopped himself. He looked at me, looked down at the object in his hands, slipped on the most pathetic pout you’ve ever seen and then slowly and deliberately put it back saying “I know Dada, no toys.”
Of course I caved. Shut up. You would’ve too.
But the cool part was out of everything in the store, he wanted a net. Not the fancy things that light up, spin or fly. The kid wanted a glorified butterfly net. It had a picture of a turtle on it and he told me he wanted to use it to catch fish, frogs and turtles. Since we’re always happy to get him outside, I thought the $8.99 was well worth it. I also wanted to put it to immediate use.
We went to a great little trail in Bourne called Four Ponds, which is a series of trails surrounding—you guessed it—four ponds. It was me, MJ and our fearless leader who was bounding with excitement towards one of the ponds. The water is really clear and beautiful, to the point we can see the fish and turtles just swimming around.
Wanting to assert myself as the dominant alpha male hunter, I immediately stepped out on the large log where the turtles sun themselves. Of course, since I’m a fat guy, they all heard me coming as soon as I got near the log and split. But that didn’t stop me from precariously tiptoeing my fat ass out on that log in the hopes of nabbing a turtle for my son. However, my only success was not falling in the water.
My wife, on the other hand, is much smarter.
She and Will waded into the water and noticed the fish and turtles came fairly close to them. They stayed perfectly still (no small feat for a 3-year-old) for 10 minutes while the underwater creatures acclimated to their presence. But it wasn’t enough and they couldn’t reach the turtles. So I sprung into action.
I knew we needed to lure them closer, so I grabbed the only thing I had: french fries from Wendy’s. I balled them up into small pellets and began tossing them in the water. I know you’re thinking this is no big deal, but the wind was blowing hard and these were skill shots. I had to place them in exactly the right spot. Not too far from MJ but not close enough that it would scare them away.
It took 10 minutes, but after a particularly good throw my wife sprung into action and BOOM—meet Kirby the Turtle.
Will went nuts. Seriously, the kid was out of his mind with excitement. The whole process took 15 minutes and Will was unbelievable. He stood still like a statue for all that time so as not to scare the turtles away. When was the last time you saw a conscious 3-year-old stay still for anything. But all I can say is the male hunter instinct must kick in pretty early because after his big catch he showed it off proudly like a fisherman after a big catch.
Riding my bike to Barrowsville Pond in Norton—fishing pole in tow—to catch sunfish. Plucking turtles out of the pond and catching frogs in the Norton Reservoir at my grandmother’s house. It’s amazing how quickly you can forget things you once spent countless hours doing. But it happens.
Perhaps one of the best parts of having kids is you get to relive some of those good times that might’ve otherwise been lost forever. And as I looked at my precocious son, clad in his Spiderman undies ferociously hunting wild animals, I couldn’t help but smile.
And watching his celebration after his first big catch? Well, see for yourself! Behold the Turtle Hunter!