Maybe about a month after we got to Costa Rica we noticed a small little lizard was making his way into our living room (which was basically an open-air deck) every day at about the same time.
He was a cute little guy. He would scurry around for about an hour or so checking things out and then take off into the jungle. Sometimes he had one or more of his little lizard friends with him who would also hang out for an hour or so, but usually he came alone.
Aiman was totally fascinated by our little lizard and used to squat down on his haunches get really close to him and say “Look! Lizard!” Aiman would point and stare, but never wanted to touch him. In fact, if the lizard took a step towards Aiman, he would squeal with delight/fright and run off. It was a pretty cute little dance.
I’m saying all this so you understand that Aiman really did like that lizard. It’s important that you know that before I get into the rest of the story. Which, I’m sorry to say, does not end well for our little friend.
After probably 3 or 4 months of that lizard coming to visit every day, Aiman got over his fear. One afternoon, Riaz was up chatting with the Canadian and Aiman and I were hanging out and getting things ready for dinner. I wasn’t really paying attention, but at some point I turned around and Aiman was holding our little lizard friend in his hand. The lizard was fine at that point, just kind of hanging out looking around (I learned later from the Canadian that these little lizards are actually really easy to domesticate and you just need to scoop them up, pet them and give them a little food and they will be yours forever).
Anyway, at the time I just thought, ah, cute – Aiman made a friend.
A few minutes went by and Aiman had let the lizard go and I noticed that he was kind of wobbling around in a drunken-looking stupor. Then he started to have some labored breathing and things …. did not look good.
It was at that point that I decided Aiman and I should go for a walk because OH MY GOD, my 2 year old does not need to watch his first pet die. And also maybe the lizard isn’t dying, he’s just playing dead (or playing like he is dying – whatever, don’t judge I felt BAD).
We went on up to the Canadian’s house and regaled him and Riaz with the sad sad story of our little lizard. The Canadian informed me that those lizards actually do sometimes play dead so maybe he was ok. I comforted myself with that knowledge for the next hour or so before I decided it was time to go home.
When we got home I made Aiman entertain himself with the water hose (his favorite Costa Rican pastime), while I went to check on the status of the lizard. Unfortunately, our little friend was right where I left him and was …. not moving … at all. Crap. I gave the little guy a gentle poke and confirmed that he had gone to that great lizard playground in the sky and then scooped him up with a piece of paper and gave him a proper burial (put out back where I know the birds like to scavenge – Circle of Life yo).
After the little guy died, we had a few more lizards come and visit our deck, but none as regularly as our dear departed. When we had visitors I made sure that Aiman looked but DID NOT touch – my conscious could not handle another senseless lizard death.
I’m happy to report that no more animals were accidentally loved to death on my watch — I’m such a good parent.