We have a new member to our family. Her name is Lily and she is a lizard.
Yes, a lizard….Or as I would later come to find out they are called “anole’s” (but more on that later).
However for the sake of this story she is a Lizard, (and for the sake of myself I have deemed it a "her" because quite honestly I need more female companionship in this house).
We noticed Lily about two weeks ago. She has taken a liking to the shelf in the garage next to Evan's old Bicycle helmet. We first saw her on a crazy rushed Tuesday morning on our way out the door to preschool. I had just finished instructing (okay yelling) for the boys to get in the car and went about the rest of my normal chaotic school morning routine. (According to a recent study, the hours between 8:00 and 9:00 are the most stressful for Mom’s) and this particular morning was no exception. Especially after coming out the door to find them NOT in the car but standing perfectly still, completely mesmerized by something on the shelf.
"What part of NOW don’t you understand?" I began to say (okay shriek). Two little ‘deer in head lights’ little boys turned to me and gleefully said "Look Mommy - a lizard."
Perched quietly on the shelf was a light brown small lizard. She was pressed up against the wall and had frozen herself completely still probably compliments of the boys looming in front of her chatting excitedly and attempting to poke her. I looked at her long enough to make sure she was breathing (a reflex I clearly have no idea how to turn off since becoming a Mom.) After a few seconds I saw her little rib cage suck in and suck out and deemed her alive
"Uh huh that's nice, okay we have to go Mommy is late and it's school time."
"Buuuuutttttt Moooommmmmyyyyyyy llllooooookkkkkkkk.." The three year old whined and I had no choice but to stop once again and act more interested.
"Yes, very cute." I said after a 5 second pause and then threatened spankings if they weren't in the car and buckled up within the next 30 seconds.
"Do you think she will be here when we get back?" Evan asked while climbing in the car.
"Sure." I replied as we did a whirlwind out of the garage and driveway and on our way to school.
I didn’t think about the lizard until hours later when I had to leave to go pick the boys up. I came out the back door and happened to notice the lizard was still there in the same spot just hanging out. Wow, I thought to myself… She is still here. Cool.
And then again the follwoing morning as we once again scrammbled out the door to school
"Look Mommy, the lizard is still here. Maybe she likes it here". Evan said.
She is kind of cute I thought. No longer brown in color she was almost green and seemed peaceful with her eyes closed sound asleep
"Can we name it?" Ryan asked.
"Sure." I said.
"How about Tarzan" Evan chimmed.
"No I like chicken face." Ryan said cracking himself and his brother up.
Ignoring their goofy laugh, "How about Lilly." I suggested. "Lilly the Lizard."
Whether they liked it or not her name was now indeed Lilly.
And upon returning from school that same morning, I took a moment to lean down towards her, smile and say a quick “hi there.
And it was here she opened her eyes, cocked her head and if I didn't know any better winked at me.
I now own a lizard.
And (apparently) in need of a major vacation.
What can I say, she has grown on me. She has been there two weeks now and every time we open the door we (okay I) look for her. The first few days I really worried about her physically. Was she getting food and water?? I mean what do these things eat anyways? I figured she found herself into the garage and if needed could find her way out. I toyed briefly with the notion that maybe Lilly was better off in the grass. I even almost moved her (before I formed an attachment, now everyone in the house is under strict orders not to move, touch, or breathe anywhere near her for fear of scaring her)
I hear Tahiti is nice this time of year….
We began feeding her last week. Nothing fancy, just some broken up cheese crackers. The boys enjoyed crumbling them up and putting them on the shelf. Slowly over the last few days the crackers have disappeared. Whether it’s her (or perhaps another creature I don’t want to know about). Either way someone is eating them and I am just going to pretend it’s her.
“Why are you feeding the Lizard?” Chris, my husband asked one night.
“You mean Lilly?”
“LILLY” I shot back looking at him as if he had forgotten one of our own children’s names.
“It was the boy’s idea.” I said (it was my only defense).
“You realize ants may come now.”
“Good, more for her to eat.” I said
I can’t really explain his next facial expression but it was something similar to the face he sometimes makes when he is forced to watch American Idol with me. Pure horror yet unexplained fascination.
I guess I can’t blame him. While it’s true I have formed a fondness for her I do realize that eventually Lilly will probably be on her merry way soon enough. But until then, providing a nice friendly environment for her isn’t too off in crazy la la land is it?? What’s the harm in just helping her get through these next few weeks of winter. Especially this week with a snow/ice storm looming. As if I needed further encouragement one night when the temps were in the 20’s I checked on her and could not find her.
“Lilly???” I called…. Small fear began to creep through me. Maybe it was just meant to be for her to move on. I mean seriously….what is wrong with me?
But then I saw her. Snuggled in between two plastic grocery bags also on the same shelf in attempt to stay warm. She was sleeping and looked very, very cold.
I made up my mind right there and then that Lilly must be brought inside to live with us.
So off to Pet smart we went the following day in search of a small aquarium for our new family member. Now I must mention that at this point, (like anything else that is new and different in the world of a 4 and 5 year old) newness wears off. While the boys haven’t completely forgotten about Lilly they seem to have moved on to the “could care less” category. It’s okay I reason with myself. Once we pick out a new cage and bring her inside they will be interested again. Or at least that is how I explained it to the nice young man who offered to help me while I stood clueless in front of the large display of reptile appropriate glass aquariums.
“What can I do for you today” he asked. He was very polite and had nice thick brown hair pulled back in a pony tail (as a mother of two boys I tend to notice tidiness).
“Umm, well, we seem to have a little lizard that has taken up residence in our garage, and well the boys have become way attached so we decided to see if we could find her a little cage to keep her in. “
The young man nodded politely and looked down at my side at two little boys who were not only no longer standing next to me, but had now positioned themselves strategically in front of a large colorful bird cage sticking their tongues out and chanting “I thought I saw a puddy cat…”
“Guys, come here!” I say (yell) Then smiled at my helper. He smiled back and nodded his head that reassured me he has seen my kind before. It was here I got the education of the common “anole” that usually is seen around North Carolina. Most likely Lilly came in to the garage because she was cold. He then went on to say all the different ways you can care for one and pointed me in the direction of a very reasonable priced cage.
“Now, what do they eat?” I asked him.
“Crickets.” He said without blinking.
“Cric…crickets?” I replied almost mutely.
“Yes, they eat crickets.”
“Okay, and umm… where does one buy crickets?” (So much for my theory that she was eating those cheese crackers).
“We sell them here live, .10 a cricket.”
“Uh huh… “was all I could muster.
I mean I had grown very fond of Lilly but now I am supposed to buy her crickets….to eat….to feed to her??”
“Well, um can you show me where the crickets are, and by any other chance do the eat cheese crackers.”
My helper grew wide then laughed and shook his head no.
“I have never seem them eat anything that doesn’t move.”
What was I getting myself in too?
At the cricket display (yes cricket display stocked with live jumping crickets and cricket vitamins to also purchase) I began to realize that perhaps I may be in over my head. Not a lot over my head, just a little. Although cricket vitamins??? Really???
So thus my mental processing began. Do I really need to spend money on a cage….crickets…vitamins a little water dish that Evan had found… ? I mean seriously? She is probably very happy in the garage and let’s face it, she is a reptile, they are used to being cold. I looked over at the boys who (once again) had left my side and were now engrossed with the hamsters and had to ask myself who was I really doing this for….Them or me….? As much as I wanted it to be them, it was clearly me. I cared about this lizard, yes but not enough to go crazy on un-necessary purchases. In the end I decided that it was best to just let her be. Maybe this was a sign of some sort; maybe I need a new project, a new outlook of some kind. It is the dead of winter and not much excitement going on in our worlds but I will be determined to set my focus on something else. Something worthwhile, something that doesn’t involve little jumping insects that I would have to possibly touch or witness escape thier box and be free in the house.... The mere thought….
“Okay guys, I said let’s go” and as I turned to thank my nice well groomed helper a thought occurred to me. I remembered the other day when I leaned down to Lilly I startled her a little bit but instead of moving quickly like they do she backed away very, very slowly. A little too slowly, I actually wondered for a minute if she was injured. So I asked pony tail guy one last question.
“She moved really slowly the other day when I startled her.” Do you think she could be hurt?"
“Nah, he said once again.” “She is probably just cold..
Okay, I found myself reasoning. Not injured just cold…. Good, Lilly would be just fine.
"Or pregnant.” He then added.
I went with the cage with the amber colored roof, little green water dish and freeze dried crickets (who knew). She looks great in our kitchen, and the boys have regained interest now that they know they can show off their new robots to someone else.
I am sure both Tahiti and St. Thomas are nice and warm this time of year.... But as of now, so is our kitchen.