I am responsible for multiple little lives.
Here they are:
I guess you're not seeing the appeal of having an old ice cream tub filled with manky water sitting on the side in your kitchen for weeks.
Nor am I to be honest, but it's not that that's stressing me out.
It's the responsibility.
What if they die?
To be honest I'm not sure I could tell a dead tadpole from a live one, most of the time, but you can bet the children can, and will, and then they'll look at me:
Mummy, why did you let them die?
The responsibility is terrifying:
Do you change the water?
Should I fish them out with a sieve first?
How do I clean the sieve after?
Can I use tap water?
And if I can't do I really want to risk my life trying to get some tadpole friendly water out of the river?
Do I feed them?
Are there seriously people (thanks Internet, no really) who will carefully boil lettuce to feed it to tadpoles?
Am I really supposed to do that?
And what about the ones that don't hatch?
Then there are the moral implications:
Should I have them in the first place? They're wild animals. Ish. They came, unhatched (do tadpoles hatch?) from my Mum's pond, carefully transported north in a jam jar. Ripped from the only home they knew (I may be anthropomorphising them too much.).
And what do I do with them in the end? I'm not just responsible for them while they're under my roof. I took them, I raised them, I've got to look after them. But where? I can hardly stick a bunch of tiny frogs in the Tweed; I don't imagine they'd enjoy the trip to the North Sea. But the nearest pond I know of is several miles away and I'm not sure they'll be so amenable to the jam jar method of transportation when they've got legs.
But if I put them in the wrong place they'll die. And I'll feel guilty forever (still haven't forgiven myself for releasing the carefully-nurtured butterflies into a hailstorm...). And what if they're the sort of amphibians that return to where they were spawned? How're they going to get from here to Essex? Or is that toads?
Like I said. The responsibility is stressing me out.
Just think what I'd be like with a dog...