If you take your Nine-Year-Old to the Shedd Aquarium…

She’ll ask you to take a picture of her by the growth chart, and you will be shocked to discover that your baby is now almost 4 and a half feet tall. 

She’s not even standing up straight. I think she’s trying to spare me the shock of it. (Photo: Shala Howell)


She’ll try to distract you from marveling over her own size by saying the words “Look, Mommyo, these spiders are as big as cats.” And then she will engage you in a spirited discussion about whether or not the word “tiger” belongs in a spider’s name. 

You will both be relieved to finally reach the tanks full of fish, where you will finally remember that you are carrying a camera.

Photo: Shala Howell


There will be lots of pausing as The Nine-Year-Old takes extensive notes. She doesn’t want to forget any of it. Even the bits you’re much happier forgetting all about. Like the fact that there are spiders in the Amazon with “tiger” in their name. 

But finally she’ll move on to the Amphibians exhibit, where you will both marvel at brightly colored itty-bitty frogs…

The yellow frog is actually a Harlequin frog. The others are the dart frogs (Photo: Shala Howell)

Solomon Island leaf frogs…

Solomon Island leaf frog. While writing this post, I just realized for the first time that there are two frogs in this picture. That’s some great camouflage! (Photo: Shala Howell)


Giant toads…

Cane toad. Nine-year-old provided for comparison purposes. (Photo: Shala Howell)


And your first newt…

So that’s a newt! (Photo: Shala Howell)


Well, Mommyo’s first newt. The Nine-Year-Old saw one as a mere Five-Year-Old on a nature hike at Moosehill.   

They’re so cute The Nine-Year-Old wants to adopt one. I’m sure you know where this post is going. 

The Nine-Year-Old, made wary by her previous experience keeping crickets in a house full of cat, “Mommyo, do cats eat newts?” 

That, my dear, is a Caterpickle for another day. Fortunately, because all these photos are about to break my iPad. 

Only two more weeks until I can use a real computer again. 

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About Shala Howell

Writer of things ranging from optical network switching white papers to genetic testing patient education materials to historical fiction set in an 1880s asylum. When I’m not scratching my head over pesky characters who refuse to do things how I want them done or dreaming of my next book (which will of course be much easier to write than the current one), my writerly self can be found blogging about life with a very curious Ten-Year-Old at Caterpickles.com, or musing about books and the writing life at BostonWriters.wordpress.com.
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One Response to If you take your Nine-Year-Old to the Shedd Aquarium…

  1. Pingback: “Do cats eat newts?” | CATERPICKLES

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