This little guy was Tommy's playmate for a good thirty minutes yesterday. He experimented with different objects to see which ones the snail would like to climb on (success with the broom handle and sand shovel, not so much with Tommy's hand at first). Finally, he got the snail to crawl on his hand and he carried him around until I finally convinced him that the snail was hungry and would like to find some lunch in the bushes. Then I bathed him in Purell. Tommy, that is. Not the snail.
Tommy's relationship with crawly things has blossomed over the past year. At first, he didn't want anything to do bugs, snails, or other members of the family of Icky. I've made a conscious effort to pick up crawly things and put them in his hand and make it seem like fun. He still gets a bit green when I try to put things like frogs in his hand, but I think that's just because they move in ways that he doesn't expect. Now some of his best friends are snails and pill bugs. In fact, there's a playground in town that has a ton of pill bugs and we can't even get Tommy to go play because he's playing with the bugs! He gives them names like Ripist and Bob the Builder and lets them crawl all over his hands and arms. I'd say he's a nature-lovin' boy now.