Monday, July 13, 2009

It's not every day you find THIS in your backyard....

Last Thursday, I walked out to the side of our house, where our fabulous veggie garden is continuing to blossom, to grab the hose to water the veggies. As I was about to open the gate to our backyard, I looked down and saw this....


I stooped down and looked closer and....holy crap....it was a turtle. Not just some little tiny turtle either. This turtle was a good size...he was just sitting there, hanging out in the warm morning sun. Cole ran out to the backyard to help me water the garden and I said, "Hey, can you go back inside and grab my camera?" and, much to my shock, he actually did. He came back out, camera in hand, and said, "What are you taking a picture of?" and I pointed to the turtle and said, "That...."

I opened up the gate, thinking the turtle (if it was smart) would hide in his shell or walk the other way. But no....as soon as the gate was open, he booked it right in to our backyard.


By now, Bella had come out into the backyard and they both stared at the turtle in complete amazement. Cole screamed, "Can we keep him?" and Bella said, "Let's get rid of the hermit crabs so we can keep the turtle....". Nice. I bet they'd kick me to the curb just as quickly if they thought there was a chance that the Tooth Fairy could be their new mother.

I called around to various animal shelters to see if anyone had reported a missing turtle but had no luck there. I finally called the local Wild Life Society and I got a biologist who laughed at me for at least a minute when I said, "Hi there, I found this turtle in my backyard and I don't know what to do....".

Then he started to talk about the proper care of a turtle, what to feed it, how to handle it properly and I interrupted him and said, "Oh NO....you think I'm gonna keep this turtle?? No, I need to know where to take him....I have no intention of keeping him".

Cole was clinging to me and crying, "Can't we please keep him?". The biologist dude asked me to look at the turtle's feet and if they were webbed that meant he was a turtle who lived in water. Okay, cool....the little guy has webbed feet. Mystery solved.

The biologist said, "If you live near some water, just take him there and release him...". Fine with me...but now I had to break the news to the kids who were practically kissing the turtle and trying to figure out a name for him.

They had lovingly placed him on a cement block in the hopes that that would keep him from wandering away. But he was a turtle on a mission....he stared at them, as if he were saying, "Ha, I laugh at you....now, be gone" and he crawled off the block and headed towards the grass again.

I grabbed a huge diaper box that we had in the garage and Cole managed to coerce the turtle into the box. I think I might have actually heard the turtle mutter, "Oh shit...."

I explained to the kids that we had to return the turtle to his home....Bella was cool with it but Cole began sobbing. "Why can't we keep him?", he cried. I said, "Because he's not ours to keep...his family is probably sad because he's lost so we need to return him to them, where he belongs".

He continued to cry....then I said, "Look, if you were lost, wouldn't you want someone to return you to us". He didn't say anything. I think he might have actually been thinking about it. I'm surprised he didn't say, "Well, if they gave me ice cream for dinner and let me stay up all night, I'd probably want to stay with them".

I used all kinds of excuses why we could NOT keep the turtle:

-- Daddy is allergic to them
-- Turtles eat eyeballs...and little kids
-- The turtle would probably pee in their beds
-- The turtle would eat all the Apple Jacks and not leave any for them
-- Turtles can turn themselves into snakes anytime they want to, mostly at night when they creep around looking for things to eat, like eyeballs and little kids

Still....he was insisting he wanted to keep this turtle. I finally had to put my foot down and say, "We are NOT keeping him....he needs to return home, with his family". And with that, we all got out of the mini-van and Cole carried the box over to the rocks. I said, "Okay, put the box down and let him walk out on his own...he'll know exactly where to go".

With much reluctance and tears, Cole placed the box on the ground and the turtle crawled out and headed towards the rocks....(click on the arrow at the bottom of each picture to see what the turtle has to say...)











We watched the water for a few more minutes and the turtle returned 3 more times....to come up for air. I convinced Cole he was coming up to say goodbye and thank the kids for returning him to his home.

On the drive home, Cole cried and cried..."Can we come back and visit him later?" and I said, "No, he has a busy day ahead of him....first, he'll have to attend a news conference where he'll be interviewed about his adventure, then he'll be taken to reunite with his family....and then they're gonna have a huge party to celebrate his return. We'll come back and visit him another time, maybe next week".

Once we returned home, I held Cole on the sofa while he continued to sob as if there were no tomorrow...."I'm so sad...I wanted to keep him....I'm worried about him...I wonder if he misses me....I'm soooooo sad". I continued to comfort him the best I could and I looked to Bella to comfort him as well. I was hoping she'd give him a hug or say, "Cole, it'll be okay...".

She rolled her eyes, patted Cole on the back and then said, "Mommy, when's Christmas gonna be here?" Such a loving twin sister, yet so unconcerned...

45 comments:

Kristina P. said...

Oh, how sad! SAVE THE TURTLE!!! :)

Hajar Zamzam Ismail said...

I used to love playing with turtles when I was a child, and they have peed in my hands. GROSS. That was one memory I could have done without.

Buckeroomama said...

I love what you did with the pictures with the pop-up comments! Really neat. :) How did you do that?

DysFUNctional Mom said...

How cute! I love turtles and I'm totally offended by your claims that they turn into snakes of all the horrible things! STOP SLANDERING THE TURTLE!
To make up for it, you should get Cole a little turtle he can keep in a tank.
I'm just saying....

Missy (Two Little Monkeys) said...

We had to let a Franklin our little turtle go too. Our turtle was bought by me but it stunk like butt so we let him go at our lake.
Now when we pass by the lake they always scream, HI Franklin!

Tracy said...

You guys did the right thing. Cole will realize that one day. Or not.

Um, question....you know that thing you said? That part about the snakes? Um, is that true? 'Cuz I really like turtles, and that would be a problem for me.

Tami said...

LOL, Sounds like Jeremiah, they should be brothers Cole and him. He's my Steve Irwin. I've had every single animal with the exception of a skunk! I had to put my foot down! He used to work in a pet store, and hubby hubby and I would literally CRINGE when he came in with a box, His excitement of having a new animal, or reptile would be clearly written on his face. We FINALLY MADE HIM QUIT! LOL.
I'll pay for your gas, car insurance, phone bill and credit card if you quit.. PLEASE.. quit.
Now he has his own business and still has a ton of animals.. BEWARE! BEWARE! somehow they are related!

*laughs

Em said...

Next time, do what my mother did - wholeheartedly agree to the adoption, but then leave the turtle outside overnight in the cardboard box. The next morning, there will be a gaping hole from where the turtle made its escape.

Then it's the turtle's fault, not yours.

Damn ingrate of a turtle.

(I hate when I realize my mother is brilliant.)

Booklover1212 said...

Helene -

I just LOVED this post and your captions!! I think "Save the Turtle" tshirts are in order now!! Great job mama!!

~ Jennifer
http://thetoyboxyears.blogspot.com/

Amy said...

You are such a wonderful writer. This post was wonderful. I loved the way the children wanted to keep him or her. How funny...

wife.mom.nurse said...

Wow, that turtle had a long journey huh...not just the rock challenge but away from the water!

Love the little pop up gadget word bubble...cool! I thought we were going to see a video of hysterical kids mourning the loss of a potential pet...darn.

Poor Cole.

Has he recovered yet?

newlyweds said...

How funny!! I am glad yall found a safe place for the turtle, poor cole. We use to have a few pet turtles, but one bit my finger once, and my dad said bye bye turtle.

Wonder how he got into your back yard?

Love the pop up pictures.

Karen said...

Aw, Cole has such a good heart!

I'm glad the turtle was able to get back home. You definitely don't see things like that every day!

Kim said...

My 3-year-old was sitting on my lap as I was reading this and she got a big kick out of those pictures! TURTLE!!

Andrea said...

LOL I love Bella's reaction at the end... whatever, when's christmas coming? Good job letting go of the turtle. We kept a little water turtle when St. Louis flooded back in '93. I was only 12. That turtle smelled soooooo bad that I took it to a park myself. Rode my bike and dumped the little guy in a creek!

BoufMom9 said...

That is just fabulous! What an awesome turtle to find in your yard!
LOVE the excuses you gave the kids. heehee (alergic to turtles! I'll have to remember some of these the next time my kids bring some odd animal home. LOL)

Jenny said...

Too cute. We get all kinds of creatures here: turtles, deer, wild turkeys, snakes and more. Yesterday there was a cute little lizard in our garage. I was so afraid to close the garage, because it is so hot in there. Can they survive heat like that?

Mother of Multiples said...

You make such a simple story so much fun to read. You had me laughing very hard. Glad everyone is ok...Hah...

The Mother said...

Kids and pets. Gheeszh. Let me know if you figure out how to solve that one.

Paula @ Organizing Tips For Moms said...

What a fun adventure! I freak out when my kids want to keep bugs in a cup. Not that the bugs freak me out, but that those living creatures don't need to be in a plastic mayo jar! I'm also uncomfortable at zoos and the circus.

Millennium Housewife said...

That's it, you can't leave Cole that upset, better buy him a pony.

MommyAmy said...

LOL! Oh how I've missed reading your blog! Sorry it's been like a month... don't worry, I'll do some catch up reading. :P

Bless Cole's little heart!

Too bad turtles eat eyeballs... that really puts a damper on the whole turtle/human relationship.

Jen said...

that was a nice turtle. we found a turtle and it hissed and tried to bite us. And yes a turtle can his.

Theta Mom said...

Boys and their love for animals and TURTLES! I remember when my brother and I found a turtle (when we were kids) and tried to keep it as a pet...that didn't last long. I love what you did with the captions! So funny!!

monica said...

Those are some great excuses and I am sure that I will have to use in future times. Great post and very funny. I hope Cole recovered enough today.

Kimberly said...

I totally would have done the same thing as you! No way would I keep a turtle. My husband doesn't even take care of the beta fish that we have! I loved how you added the part about the turtle needing to do a news conference about his big adventure. You never know maybe this was the Michael Jackson of turtles and they are all anxiously waiting his return to the water...

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

Should I not mention that we have 3 turtles living in wading pools at our house right now? My oldest LOVES, LOVES LOVES them. Seriously, if he could kiss them, he would. It is sad. He takes them out and plays withthem every day, feeds them, changes the water and tells them stories. Strangely enough, he turned down a dog.

Tess said...

I wonder how he got to your yard. Hopefully he wasn't someone's pet-that would be sad!

Amy W said...

My girls were begging to keep the turtle they caught when they went fishing the other day! Oh no. Put that thing back! Love the pictures with quote boxes - what a cool application.

The Depews said...

The toothfairy? Surely they would hold out for Mrs. Claus.

Loved the captions on the turtle.

Morgan said...

"when's Christmas going to be here?", now that sounds like my 4 year old!

Cute on the allergic to turtles excuse.

Alicia said...

LOL @ your excuses and the pop up thingys!!!!!

Jennifer said...

LOL! Bella is a hoot! That's EXACTLY how I treat my brother! HAHA! How random that the turtle is in your backyard... how long did he walk from the water to your house?!

Suzanne said...

Whew...just a turtle! I was almost afraid to scroll down. Thought I might see what waits outside for us in Florida on some days...yes, the slithery things!!!!! Turtles I can deal with. we had one in a tank for years...sweetest thing ever!!! Daisy used to flop off her rock and swim over to the glass every time someone walked in the room. You did what you had to do...but big hugs to Cole!:-)

3 Bay B Chicks said...

How come you didn't just drive to the beach again, my friend? That is a body of water, you know.

Oh, and where on earth did you find these pop-up features? Such fun! Loved this series of pics.

-Francesca

Kathy B! said...

We just saved a turtle recently, too! It must be some sort of migratory season for them or something!

And he looked kinda like a snapping turtle!! Did he hiss at you?!

Creative Junkie said...

This made me laugh! Especially the tooth fairy comment - so true!

You're a better mom that I - I would have hoped that it was just passing through and then proceeded to ignore it.

Kind of like what I do with my kids every so often.

Heather said...

That is hilarious! I'm constantly amazed at how quickly kids can become attached to things! I hope Cole forgot about the turtle quickly. Bella is so funny : )

Elle said...

Everything at your house is a big adventure. Glad the turtle survived and you don't have a new pet.

Mommy24cs said...

I can't stop laughing at the turtle on the cement block haha. Like a car without wheels :o)

Kristen said...

What a cute turtle!!

Toddler Craft Onna said...

What an adventure!! It's so hard when they are so heartbroken like that!! But you had to stand your ground!!

janice said...

Helene- Seeing the turtle on the cement block gave me a really good chuckle! What a funny post!

Janice
http://canItasteitnow.blogspot.com

Zeemaid said...

i love that the kids put the turtle on a cement block to stop him from running away. That's hilarious!!!

Poor Cole!

lorimcktia.blogspot.com "Cottage By The Sea" said...

Those pop up comments are AWESOME. Love your blog - this post was hilarious. Ah, life with kids. I can't wait to see what your blog is about when they are teenagers.
Blessings!

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr



 
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