Monday, August 11, 2008

A Little Crabby

On our recent beach trip Molly bought a hermit crab. We alternate between calling him "Hermie" and her "Smiley." Name and gender have not stuck yet. Anyway, on Friday I had a busy day with a church conference. I noticed his/her cage smelled pretty bad and mentioned it to the kids. They suggested I clean it.

This annoyed me because it is NOT my hermit crab. I decided I would have Molly clean it later that day. Well, the day went by pretty quickly. When Tom came home from a business trip at 11 pm, he said, “What’s that smell?” Uh-oh.

We checked on Hermie/Smiley and found him/her shriveled up inside the shell. This was not good. I started to cry, thinking of breaking the news to my little girl. We live in the house of blame, and I knew I’d probably get nailed for this one.

Looking for reassurance, I said to Tom, “I don’t know how this could have happened! I gave it water, I spritzed its sponge, I fed it this morning.” His response, “Well, it does sound like you were the one in charge.” How supportive. I huffily put on my eyeshades and went to sleep.

The next morning I heard Molly coming down the stairs. After a few weeks of benign neglect, THIS was the morning she decided to call out, “Where’s Smiley?” Uh-oh. I bolted out of bed to tell her about his/her untimely death.

You may be wondering if I felt tempted to run out and buy a replacement crab. I know this is a rather common practice; however, after replacing and killing 4 guppies in the space of one day, and getting caught in the act by my smart little kids, I’ve decided the direct approach is best.

Soooo, I sat Molly down and told her Hermie/Smiley was dead. She didn’t blame me. We held each other and cried. We reminisced about the good times of the past 3 weeks. The hermit crab maze Jake made for it, the neighborhood walks-- I think that about covered it. Wiping her tears, Molly said, “Can I see him?”

I was glad Tom hadn’t jumped the gun and thrown him/her away the night before. I am big on closure. I just hoped he/she didn’t look too pathetic or smell too nasty.

From downstairs I heard, “HE’S ALIVE!” and indeed, Hermie/Smiley lives! I cannot explain it, but I am even more grateful Tom didn’t bury him/her alive. I wonder what bigger purpose is in store for this lowly crab, for surely he/she has an important destiny to fulfill. Right now I can hear him/her dancing a tango in the kitchen and I must say, “He/She is risen! Risen indeed.”


Kate Coveny Hood said...

"He's alive!" That's too funny. We can't keep fish alive - so I don't think I'll attempt crabs.

Shana said...

Thank goodness for your desire for closure! You're now making me wonder if I may have ever prematurely disposed of a crab.

I have done the hermit crab replacement game. "Mom, look how much Hermie grew today!" Yes, it is shameful but we were dealing with hermit crabs the same year that grandma died and I figured my four year old had had enough reality that year!

Her first foray into crabs, she got three of them. She named them Hermie, Mr. Crabs and Marie. "Why Marie?" I asked (because I kind of got Hermie and Mr. Crabs, heehee).

"Mom, just look at her! Isn't she the most beautiful crab you've ever seen?"

We ended our hermit crab odyssey with Hermie3, Mr. Crabs2 and Marie3when we moved on to cats. That's a lot of crab swapping!

Leeuna said...

Hi Anna,
I just passed on a blog award to your blog. You can pick it up from

Anna Whiston-Donaldson said...

Wow! Thanks! This makes my day! :) Anna

Anna Whiston-Donaldson said...

Wow! Thanks! This makes my day! :) Anna

Anna Whiston-Donaldson said...

Wow! Thanks! This makes my day! :) Anna

Gretchen said...

Hiya. We had 3 hermit crabs. Over time 2 of them have died. It was tough for my son, but he is learning (now, finally) to take very very good care of the last remaining crab. It teaches them good habits and how we must care for those who cannot care for themselves. Your family sounds precious!