Snails for sale

We recently got back from a week in Tuscany. That might sound romantic and European but when you’re toting four youngish children through the hot Italian countryside where there isn’t a toilet seat to be found, it gives an entirely new spin on the phrase, “Under the Tuscan Sun.” We learned a few new roadside tricks last week, let me tell you. This was our first vacation with a newly potty-trained Georgia (2) and that girl loves to use her skills.

Nothing brings a family together like a week’s stay in a single hotel room with two adults, four kids, and not enough beds. This is especially true in Italy where all the floors are tile and no one wants to sleep on the ground. Bedtime was a new kind of torture.

In an effort to alleviate some of the kicking and screaming (not an exaggeration) I resorted to every parent’s most tedious pasttime: telling stories about the children to the children. “Remember the time Harrison…” and “When Rex was little…” entertained them for a good hour. I had to dig deep to find relatable stories about June that didn’t involve punishment.

Our leisurely afternoons made me aware of how nice it is to get the television out of our life. June (5) and Rex (8) spent hours outside chasing lizards and collecting bugs. I was busy trying to get lost in a book when June came running up to me on day two. “Mommy! Look at all the thnailth I caught! I’m going to thell them and make money!”

I was only half listening. “That’s nice dear.”

“She caught hundreds of them!” Rex said.

“Mmm-hm….” Rex isn’t usually very good with numbers so I chalked this up to a gross exaggeration.

Then she shoved her red Solo cup under my nose and I tried not to scream my head off. There they were, a few hundred tiny snails huddled in their shells and trying not to die of fright and asphyxiation.

“Oh my–wow. Wow! Did you really catch all those?” I asked.

“Yep!” she said, “I’m going to thell them!” Without another thought she took her camping chair to the back yard where no humans ever tread and set up shop. “Thnailth for Thale!” she hollared. I watched as she pulled them out and stuck them up and down her arm, displaying her wares. Their little slimy eyes poked out taking stock and searching for a comfortable bit of real estate to stick to.

She waited. And waited and waited and waited. Fifteen minutes into her first entrepreneurial experience she learned the first hard lesson in salesmanship: location location location.

I watched her slowly pluck the snails off her arms and legs and neck and put them back in their sad red Solo cup. She hefted her little five-year-old self out of her chair and gave a big sad sigh. Trudging back into the patio area she plunked her cup on the table (ewe) and looked up at me with big tears in her eyes. “No one wanth to buy my thnailth. Now I’ll never ever get any money to buy candy!” And she burst into tears and sobbed her little head off, spilling the nasty creatures all over the dinner table.

This was one of those moments when every girl needs a hero. Jason stepped out, took one look at his daughter’s soggy face and asked what was wrong. She told him her plight and he was fast to fix it. “Oh! Well, I was just coming out to buy some snails. How much are they?”

“Two thenth a piethe!”

“Well in that case, I’ll take fifty snails.”

You’ve never seen a pre-kindergartener count to fifty so fast in her entire life.

Someone brought the rest of the snails into the house that night and we woke up the next morning to a snail take-over. It’s amazing how far they can get with an eight hour head start.




  1. Heather says:

    She can charge $250 to put them on someone’s face. That is the new thing in Japan. She has a real money maker there.

  2. Sarah Knight says:

    Growing up in a military family, we never had pets, or at least normal pets. We had fish and snails. My brother had a snail named piggy because he ate so much lettuce. We’d leave him with friends when we went out of town so someone could take care of him. When we moved, we made sure he went to a good home. We had other snails as well but I don’t know if we named them. One night we left the lid off their jar and my mom was plucking snails off the bottom of leaf plants all day. And my last snail story is one time for a science project we did does the size of the snail affect the size of their slime trail- or something super awesome like that! I too loved the snails. What a cutie you have there! I would have bought some for sure and loved them to death 🙂

  3. We are in Provence right now and I see snails everywhere?! I thought they liked colder wet early spring like temps?! Seems like there is escargo for the taking everywhere today- It was over 100 degrees! Personally I think snails are cute from a distance but in large numbers somehow they really gross me out, and this photo of June is really disturbing!!! I think Junes best chance for success lies in the preparation- just add some garlic and butter and she’ll be in the money!

  4. Tiffani Morgan says:

    I love all of the details! Glad you are back and hopefully will be able to get a decent nights sleep!

  5. Alison (You know who) says:

    Love the cute pic, and you nailed how June talks! lol. Love your writing 🙂

  6. My sleep-deprived husband just got woken up from me laughing out loud. Don’t worry. I made him listen to me, so he could understand why it was worth waking up for. Best story ever. Thanks for the laugh.