The Adventures of Centipede and Mouse

Last week T and I popped along to her nursery for an hour as they had someone coming in with a few creatures for the children to look at. Despite Tuesday not being a regular day for T, they kindly invited us along anyway, and it was brilliant! An hour with a group of 1-3 years olds and several small animals. Here’s roughly how it went…

Children are sitting in a line having been taken to the toilet. Animal man (sorry animal man, I didn’t catch your name) attempts some conversation with them. Most of the children stare back in silence. He asks them what creatures they think he’s brought with him. Cue various hilarious suggestions. Dolphin? Cow? Elephant? Finally everyone is sitting down.

Animal man brings out some large African snails. “Snails!” shout the children. Animal man asks if the snails are like the ones in the garden. One boy insists he does have snails like these in his garden. Animal man tactfully suggests that perhaps these ones are a little bigger. Children try holding snails. They mostly squeal and grab their hands back before the snails slime them, including T. I don’t blame them. Animal man brings out creature #2.


Animal #2 is a millipede, curled up fast asleep. “Snail!” shout the children. Animal man says it is not a snail. Worm? No, it has lots of legs. Spider? No. “Millipede!” shouts the toddler version of David Attenborough. I’m telling you this kid is lined up for a long career with the Beeb. Animal man encourages children to wake millipede by calling him. Children  readily oblige. They have clearly had A LOT of practise at waking people up. Millipede rises up, snake-charmer fashion. Sorry, Millipede – I know how you feel. Children attempt holding him. T is too afraid. I get some sense of needing to show her that in fact this foot-long insect with too many legs is not scary at all and volunteer to hold it. It feels somewhat like a hairbrush. Animal man looks like he might walk away. Wait, animal man! I may appear extraordinarily brave and heroic, but it is an act! Argh, it’s crawling up my arm, take it back, TAKE IT BACK!! Congratulate myself on being so brave.


Creature #3 arrives. It is a frog. “Frog!” shout the children. Children scramble to their feet to get a better look. Staff use sing song voices to encourage everyone to sit down nicely. Half the children oblige. One child runs closer. “Sit down!” call the staff. Another child gets up again. “Lets sit down everyone!” One child runs off to play with the pirate ship. T decides maybe she would like to play with the pirate ship too. No, T. Obviously you are more interested in this massive frog than a pirate ship. Mummy doesn’t want your nursery grown-ups thinking I am a terrible mother who can’t get you to sit nicely. Look, T! Look at the frog! T sits down. Animal man asks children where frogs live. “The pond!” shouts Attenborough. He’s got this. Animal man tells children this is a tree frog. Ooh, not fair, Animal Man. Trick question. Children look at Animal Man with sudden suspicion. Frogs do not live in trees! Animal Man says this frog can climb trees. I can feel a sense of mutiny rising. The children know frogs do not live in trees and they definitely cannot climb. Frogs are for ponds and their chosen sport is swimming. Animal Man demonstrates by putting the Amazing Climbing Frog on his banner. Ooooh, say the children. The mutiny dissipates. Animal Man was not lying after all.

Time for creature #4. It is a gecko. Attenborough informs us it lives in the desert. I start to worry that maybe T does not know as many animal facts as she should aged 2. Make mental note to review animal habitats soon. T does not want to touch the gecko. Ok, I think, if I can hold a millipede, I can hold a gecko. Four legs is easy. Hold Gecko. This is actually not too bad. Animal Man tells children we must be very gentle with the gecko’s tail as that is where he keeps his stomach. Have visions of gecko tail falling off and hands covered in gecko guts. Quickly pass him back. Congratulate self on being superhero mummy who holds strange creatures from faraway lands. Could totally be a presenter on My Pet and Me.

It’s the final creature. Am bracing self. I looked on the website last night and there was a tarantula. Of course he’s going to have saved it for the end. “This one is a bit different,” says Animal Man. Deep breaths. “He’s a bit bigger than the others.” Heart is racing. Where is the nearest exit? “This one is quite hairy.” How annoyed will husband be if I run screaming from spider in front of T? Maybe we should leave early. Or I could escape under pretence of needing the loo. “It has four legs…” Huh? Maybe not a tarantula after all! “…and whiskers.” Heart rate begins to return to normal speeds. Animal Man brings out…what is that? Gerbil? Giant mouse? Hmm, think it’s a chinchilla…yes! Animal Man says I am right. Take that Tiny Attenborough. Chinchilla is actually adorable. He has a sand bath in a old Roses tin. This animal is my favourite. No I don’t want to touch him – it’s a giant mouse!


I’ve got a text. Am I allowed to check my phone? Yes, this isn’t school, and you are a grown up. Look at it discreetly incase I get told off. It’s from husband. I’m outside. We’re meeting for a picnic. I held a millipede! Animal Man is telling children about chinchillas. Are you nearly finished? Stop being impatient. T is learning essential facts about chinchillas. Cheese is getting warm! Am getting hungry. Animal Man puts chinchilla back in cage. Thank everyone profusely. SUCH a brilliant morning and so well pitched for the age. Make mental note to try and do something like this again.

Go outside and meet husband. I held a millipede and a gecko, I tell him. J asks T what animals she saw this morning. “A centipede,” she tells him, “and a mouse.”

Cuddle Fairy
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The Pramshed



30 Replies to “The Adventures of Centipede and Mouse”

  1. OMG those are some crazy animals, especially the millipede! Whaaat! I like how the kids at first gave the Animal Man all blank stares lol. Sounds like it was fun though. : )

    1. beccatooth says: Reply

      Yes it was REALLY fun, the kids loved it! Thankful he didn’t bring any of his scarier creatures though-he does have scorpions!

  2. Aha I love it!! How does that kid know so much?! I’m glad it wasn’t a tarantula, I freaked out at a house spider last night. This did make me chuckle. #BloggerClubUK

    1. beccatooth says: Reply

      I am glad too! Last night when I got home there was a large spider next to the handle of the front door. Had to get my husband to rescue me! Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  3. What a sweet story. Written in a light-hearted funny way, really enjoyed it. Animal man sounds like a decent bloke and tiny Attenborough we’ll all have to keep an eye on.

    1. beccatooth says: Reply

      Thanks, glad you enjoyed it! Ha, yes, he knows too much!

  4. I love your writing style 🙂 I can’t believe you held the millipede – all those legs! I like chinchillas, they are pretty cute and way better than a tarantula! I love T’s answer when her dad asked what she had saw, really made me giggle, I guess Tiny Attenborough kept his crown that day lol
    Thanks for linking up to #BloggerClubUK 🙂

    1. beccatooth says: Reply

      Thanks for reading! Yes I don’t think many toddlers hold a candle to Tiny Attenborough when it comes to wildlife 😉

  5. Hi! This is my first visit to your blog, and I love your writing style! You’re braver than me, I’m really not sure how many of those creatures I would’ve wanted to hold! x #BloggerClubUK

    1. beccatooth says: Reply

      The bravery was def for T’s benefit…this week I woke J up to remove a spider from the front door so that I could come in! Thanks for reading!

  6. Ha ha ha awesome! Very well written. Extremely brave… not sure id go near any of those creatures!!
    #dreamteam #triballove

    1. beccatooth says: Reply

      Thanks for commenting! Hmm the bravery was definitely a show for T…you wouldn’t get me close any other time!

  7. This is a lovely story, I would be too scared to hold a millipede and a gecko – you are very brave! I really hope that they offer days like this at our nursery, I’m sure my little one would love it, just as much as Thea did and probably get muddled with the names too 🙂 You’ve made me think if I’m introducing her enough to new things at the moment, but maybe 10 months is too soon. Thank you so much for joining our party at #fortheloveofBLOG, we hope you come back next week. Claire x

    1. beccatooth says: Reply

      Thanks for reading! I’ve seen other nurseries get similar things in; it’s so great for the kids, so hope yours does! Aah 10 months – you have loads of time! x

  8. Haha! I love how you have written this post, you have a great style. The way children react to creatures is fascinating. The other day Little Button decided that a rouge snail in her sandpit was her new besty… ‘awww come here my little darling!’ :-O Supermum on holding that millipede, I definitely would have run off or more embarrassingly accidentally thrown it in the air. Thank you so much for linking up to the #DreamTeam. Hope you will be back for week 3 x

    1. beccatooth says: Reply

      Thanks so much! Hmm not sure animal man would have approved of millipede being thrown in the air. But I wouldn’t blame you! 😉

  9. Oh my god this is so funny, absolutely love every word of it 🙂 🙂 🙂 You are totally brave and the centipede ahahahaha!!! Thanks so much for sharing with the #FriYAYLinky Hope to see you again tommorow 🙂 xx

    1. beccatooth says: Reply

      Thanks for reading, glad you enjoyed it! I’ve linked up again with my latest post. Thanks for hosting!

  10. This is very funny. I liked the frog pond mutiny best. And mini Attenborough. #Chucklemums

    1. beccatooth says: Reply

      I’m really glad you found it funny! I think that is one of my favourite parts too. 🙂

  11. Haha, loved it and the mini David Attenborough. How did that kid know so much!! #chucklemums

    1. beccatooth says: Reply

      I know, right?! Glad you enjoyed it!

  12. What a lovely story. I laughed at the “giant mouse” part. The illustrations are well made, too! I can’t wait to see how my daughter reacts to animals when she’s older. I hope she’ll get to experience such a day like these kids did. #chucklemums

    1. beccatooth says: Reply

      Thanks, I’m glad you liked the illustrations!

  13. My friend’s son, aged five, came over and told me exactly what fish I had in my tank. Very impressive – and I’m sure I was the same.
    Brilliant story, really enjoyed reading it and I love the pictures! Would have been more impressed if you’d held a tarantula though 😉
    Thanks for linking with #Chucklemums!

    1. beccatooth says: Reply

      Ugh, no tarantulas for me thanks! 😉 I once taught a little boy who LOVED sea life and knew all kinds of creatures. Way more than me. Funny how some of them just get obsessed with that kind of stuff! Thanks for reading.

  14. Wow sounds like a brilliant morning at nursery! My little boys would love something like that. Gorgeous illustrations, too.

    1. beccatooth says: Reply

      Yes it was a fab morning! Thanks, I’ve got nothing on Beta Mummy’s illustrations though 🙂

  15. I’ve commented on this post for another linky I’m sure, but it didn’t have the lovely illustrations then – how clever! Thank you for linking it up to #chucklemums

    1. beccatooth says: Reply

      Thanks, glad you liked them!

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