On Saturday morning, before we left to totally miss the bee-bearded lady enhance our daughter’s enthusiasm for critters, Trish hit a yard sale. More about that later.

To Ella, the lovable little person in our family whose cheery demeanor and sparkling smile are reserved for non-members of our household, this meant the opportunity to debate, at length, breakfast options (Cheerios? Rice Krispies? Both? Life is so complicated!) and to expound on the value of remaining pajama-clad all day, all in preparation for the giant fit she’ll throw when Trish walks out the door without her (have to start the yard-sale circuit early, you know).

When Trish did, in fact, walk out the front door, completely surprising darling Ella (she actually left?!), Ella, in fine Norma-Desmond fashion, flung herself against the front door sidelight, pleading, begging, “Maaaaaama! I want to goooooooo!”

She carried on, driveling and snorting and generally making a mess of the window, for a few moments while I looked on, generally pleased with my daughter’s performance. It pulled at my heartstrings a little, sure. I remember those moments. But I knew, from experience, if I tried to physically alter her production its intensity would greatly magnify and we’d both wind up with snot in our hair.

Then, suddenly, silence.

She had tried the doorknob earlier and the deadbolt was too tight for her to unlock.

So dashed to the door leading to the garage, and the garage door was up (how she knew, or even suspected this mystifies me). She was making a break for it, one of her epic sprints down the street. I followed in hot pursuit.

But instead of heading down the driveway she made an abrupt turn, headed for the front porch, bounded up the steps, ran to the pillar and then turned to me, eyes bright and shiny, face stretched into a moon-size grin, and yelled, “I GOT IT!”

She opened her hands and showed me … a frog.

Ella had seen the cute little American green tree frog earlier that morning, looking out the sidelight window, and had wanted to catch it then. I ably distracted her toward the breakfast debate.

But amid the passionate pleas, her cries and protests of separation, her watery eyes lit upon … a frog.

There aren’t many things that make this kid happier than frogs, lizards or butterflies, except catching them.