Two years ago, Grandpa Dick gave Connor three hermit crabs for his birthday. There was a teeny-tiny crab that had a shell painted black with a batman logo, a medium sized one painted like a ladybug (Helen picked this one out - it may have been hers), and a larger one painted with Angry Birds on it. He was also given a couple of extra shells in case the hermit crabs grew and needed a new shell. We were very hopeful crab owners. So hopeful, that after about a week, I got an old aquarium out of our basement and dumped a bunch of sand in it. Having the crab live on the rocks that came with it just seemed like a bad idea - plus it sort of freaked me out when I would hear them walking around at night.
Angry Bird, as he was known, died a few months later. He was in the care of a friend, and his friend felt awful. I, however, wasn't too sad. One down...two to go.
Batman died about six months ago, I think, though I'm not exactly sure when.
Ladybug marches on. And these past few weeks with her have been quite exciting.
First, we went on vacation. We left the crab with Connor's friend (not the one who had to deal with the death of Angry Bird, we chose a different victim this time). Connor's friend was super excited to have the crab for two weeks, and we feared he nearly loved that crab right to its death. When Ladybug was returned, she was not looking good. I dropped her in a water dish, thinking maybe she was just a little dry, but when I saw her - I was confident she was dead.
The mom, of course, felt awful. I admit to feeling not awful (except I felt bad that she felt bad). I was free of another pet. It was the end of the weird pet chapter of our lives. Nobody actually cares for the crab except me. I do get a kick out of it when I walk into the room and she drops her shell, as if she's not there. Sneaky... This is the only interaction anyone in our home has with the crab. Ever.
After a few hours of letting Ladybug soak herself, I was ready to pronounce her dead and perform whatever last rites seemed appropriate. Only when I retrieved her from the bowl, she reached out her teeny-tiny claw and gave one last hurrah of a wave. Surprised, I put her back on the sand, covered her house with a blanket (it seemed the respectful thing to do), and told everybody that they were to ignore the crab (as if they need this instruction) to hopefully give a chance for the resurrection to take hold.
And behold! She didn't move much for a few days, but occasionally she moved, and I said a silent cheer for her.
After a few days of this - she simply walked outside her shell. I am obviously not a hermit crab expert, but this did not seem good. She spent most of her time sitting in the water dish, which I feared I would find her floating in some morning. I did not photograph this because I assumed she was getting ready to die, and that just doesn't seem like a good thing to photograph.
And then one morning, she did what none of our crabs did over the past two years (or however long they were with us), she switched shells. Holy cow is this exciting. And, if you think I'm kidding here, it is because you must have a normal pet that actually interacts with you. We were thrilled. Seriously.
Just like that, Ladybug became Baseball.
And that makes sense, as you can see below, because Baseball is bigger than Ladybug. I figured she (actually, the kids now refer to the crab as "he") would live for at least a for more weeks in his new digs. A photograph did not exactly seem urgent.
Only that baseball shell? It is not housing the crab formerly known as Ladybug. Where, you might wonder, has Ladybug / Baseball gone?
To become Batman reincarnated.
At first, I tried to reason with Ladybug / Baseball / Batman. I told him/her that there was no need to pretend like she was of the age that corsets were required. I told her it was OK to wear the bigger shell - it looked good! Everyone liked it on her.
But Batman was all - I've squeezed myself into this thing, I intend to live here a while. And just to make her point that she fit just fine, she dropped a claw. As in, there is a crab claw sitting on the sand right now, that is no longer attached to the crab body.
I have to hand it to Ladybug / Baseball / Batman - that's a lot of sacrifice to wear that cute shell. Having lost some weight last year, I do admire the way she has literally sunk her whole self into her weight loss goals. I have run many miles, but I have never even considered just chopping a leg off.