How we came to know that Bucky is a boy.
5:55 p.m. The turtle is pointed out to me at church and I (despite my great dislike for touching reptiles) pick up the turtle and place him carefully in a bucket. I call Gary to tell him that if he wants to be a hero, he can bring the kids to church after dinner to come pick him up.
I was in my meeting at this point, so my information is secondhand. I have a pretty reliable source, so I can vouch for it's accuracy.
6:15 p.m. Gary loads the kids in the van, having told them they are on their way to get a pet. Four children talk at once, many questions are being asked, and there is much anticipation.
6:16 p.m. The van does not start. Not to be deterred, Gary loads kids in the wagon and begins the walk to church.
6:45 p.m. Everyone is home, turtle in tow. First order of business - take the turtle across the street and introduce him to the neighbors' turtle. Maybe they can share a box!
6:50 p.m. The turtle are placed together while seven children and three parents gather to observe.
6:51 p.m. It becomes clear that it is mating season and our turtle "gets to know" the neighbors' turtle. Clearly, ours is the male.
6:52 p.m. The parents exchange looks and some laughter. They decide it's best to separate the turtles, but that is easier said than done. (I was not actually there, but I can imagine the banter between the parents... "Oh, what are they doing? Those crazy turtles! Better get them their own boxes..." Finally, they are apart and our turtle, now named Bucky, is taken home. A box is found - he is given food and water. Everyone heads up to bed.
8:10 p.m. I arrive home to find Rachel waiting for me. "Guess what Mom?" she says. "We have a turtle and it's a boy turtle. We took him over to the Chrislips' and he climbed right on top of their turtle. He was really strong and Dad couldn't even get him off!"
"Maybe they were fighting," I reply.
"They were definitely not fighting," she says. "I think our turtle likes their turtle. It's called mating."
Thank you PBS and National Geographic for providing such a solid biology lesson to my children. Job well done. Now, if only you could teach them to clean their rooms.