The questions and pleading started back in February.
“Mom, can we get another pet?”
I responded that they had one very lovely pet that they still forget to feed and pick up her poop.
“But mom, I want a hamster!”
Thankfully, I’ve had friends share their hamster woes with me. One succinctly told me that hamsters are just “heartbreak on four paws”, as they die just after the kids get attached. Plus, they’re nocturnal and can’t be potty trained. But my biggest argument was, “you can’t take care of the one pet you already have!” Who needs MORE poop and pee to contend with?!
But then for my daughter’s birthday, all she wanted was a fish aquarium.
*sigh* I had fish as a kid. I am still traumatized by having to siphon out the poopy water and the countless floating fish from my childhood.
But I relented. We got a nice 10 gallon tank, and bought two aquarium frogs and a sucker fish. They were named after family members. Not after me (the woman who will end up doing all the work for these pets I’m sure), but that’s OK because they named the sucker fish after their father. Ha! At least I’m no sucker!
All was fine and dandy for about two months until those damn aquarium frogs turned belly up and then got sucked into the filter.
So for a while, all we had was the sucker fish named after their father. I was happy with that. At least that sucker is a hardy fish.
But then the kids discovered tadpoles in our backyard pond. They scooped them up with my Tupperware (is it a wonder I can never find matching sets?!), and proudly presented to me some tadpoles. Problem was that I saw mosquito larvae in that scoop of water as well.
I then announced that the pond would have to be drained when their father got home from work. That’s when Operation Tadpole Rescue commenced. Those kids caught 20 tadpoles, and transferred them into the aquarium with the sucker named after their father. Only a few mosquito larvae made it into the aquarium. I killed them with a spoon.
At first, I was all, “yay, free pets!” Then, I started thinking, “oh, dear, what are we going to do with 20 frogs?”
All was fine and dandy for about two days until I started hearing the tortured screams from my daughter upstairs. I ran up expecting to find someone murdered up there, but what I found was that most of the tadpoles had been sucked into that damn filter. I’m good in times of stress – I used to be a lifeguard after all – so I unplugged the filter to save the tadpoles that had not yet met their death.
I only dry heaved about 10 times as I carried the filter clogged with 17 tadpole bodies to the garbage.
So then were just three tadpoles and a sucker, and an unplugged filter, which meant the water got disgusting, and smelled up my daughter’s room.
I finally convinced my daughter to release the tadpoles back into the now cleaned out pond so that we could get the tank back in clean working order for the sucker fish named after her father.
“Once we get it cleaned up, can’t we get another fish?” She pleaded.
Oh fine. Then my son starts in that he needs an aquarium in his room, too.
I tuned him out as I flipped through my Facebook feed, but then noticed that a neighbor was giving away a hermit crab tank for FREE that day! Well heck, hermit crabs are easy, right?!
In a moment of complete lack of judgement, I packed the kids up to go to Petsmart, where we bought five fish, a ghost shrimp, and two hermit crabs. I stood in the store Googling how to care for hermit crabs, and next thing I knew, I was spending $66 on hermit crabs and their accessories, and I picked up the FREE tank on the way home.
We got home, set up the tank, and my son was rather unimpressed with these crabs that stay in their shells. Then my husband discovered the tank and threw a hissy fit about not wasting energy and using a heat lamp in our house when it’s 95 degrees outside… And so I ended up going back the next day to return the hermit crabs and all $66 worth of crap that came with them. I had to promise my son I’d buy him a tank with a “fighting fish” (read: a beta) for his birthday next month.
And now I’m looking to offload a FREE hermit crab cage.
But back to my point: why isn’t this cute, furry, loving dog enough?! Can’t it just be enough?! Does everyone’s kids go through the Petsmart Phase?!