All You Need Are … Newts!

"Celebrity" status comes in all shapes and sizes June 7, 2018

This time of year, we spend a lot of time at lacrosse fields and baseball fields.

When I am at the baseball field, I look around and think back to a particular baseball game. I wrote this piece many years ago, but I carry it in my heart like it was just yesterday … so sweet, I thought that I would share. If you have children, I know that you will be able to relate. If you don’t, it’s just funny.

When we came home from the lake last weekend, we brought with us 5 salamanders. Jacob, in particular, fell in love with them and couldn’t imagine letting them go back into the lake. He had to bring them home.

I had visions of the jar tipping upside down in the car and the chaos that would ensue as kids and salamanders went everywhere. But, with the insistent begging, and no real good reason as to why we couldn’t bring them home, I gave in and said “yes” to the salamanders making the trek back to New York.

As we drove out of the camp driveway with my 5 extra passengers, my sister asked, “You know what happens to animals that go in home aquariums, don’t you?”   

“No, what?” I asked.

She flatly replied, “they die.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence, E,” and I rolled my eyes at her and left … “bye-bye.”

So, with that, I half expected that by the middle of the coming week, the interest would either be gone by the wayside and we could let them go free in the pond, OR they would actually die.

But, no, they were very much alive, and these 5 salamanders had now become part of the family.

The 5 new members were actually very well-traveled too. They went to school a few times–Jacob was going to give one to his classroom, but he didn’t want to give it up, so he decided to bring it home again. Sorry class … he loves every one of his salamanders.

They even went to the baseball field—twice! Yes, twice. It was actually a good thing that we brought them to the field because an expert there quickly informed us that what we were calling salamanders were actually newts.

However, that wasn’t all that I learned at the ball field that night … little did I know that Jacob would gain, surprisingly, a lot of girl friends, thanks to his little slimy buddies–they worked better than a puppy to draw attention to him!

The kids (mostly girls) flocked to him. It was quite comical. I didn’t need to keep tabs on Jakey that night, all I had to do was look up and see where the crowd of kids was standing, and, in the middle of that, with his “newts” and all, was my 6-year-old son, Jacob–eating it up. He was like the Pied Piper of the baseball field, girls falling in behind him left and right clamoring to get a peek at his newts.  

He pulled the newts out, let them walk all over, and encouraged the little kids to touch them. It was quite cute to see him taking on such an authoritative role.

Things got a little out of control though, when one of the girls tipped the jar over and the 5 newts all headed in different directions. Luckily there were adults there to save the day. Jakey did not think it was funny, and after that he only let the kids look and touch cautiously. He wasn’t going to let anybody jeopardize the safety of his newts.

But the little girls just kept following him, and the young boys quickly got bored and went back to their games. Hmm … will that work when he is 16? Newts? Something tells me to doubt that, by then the newts won’t be nearly as fun, and he would have to resort to a puppy. But who knows …

And I knew that I was living with a real life celebrity when, the next week at the ball field, I overheard a group of parents talking about how cute the little boy was who had the newts. They even knew his name to be Jacob. Wow … I was starstruck. Imagine, newts bringing all this fame to Jacob.

So, the lessons that I’ve learned since that week are 1) what we thought were salamanders were actually newts because they live and breathe in the water, 2) “newts” are very hardy–either that or they love children handling them, and must really like our pond-water home aquarium, and 3) to any male who is unattached–if you need a date, you might want to try newts.  Bring them to a public place, and you will never lack for female companionship again.

Take a lesson from the expert, or should I say celebrity—Jakey!

Have a great week!

With love,