Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Life Lessons

We gave our son the gift of animals for his birthday. Three glow fish and two dwarf frogs. They are community animals, according to the experts at the pet store, so they NEED to be together. We purchased a small tank and all the gear needed and that's what we wrapped up for the birthday gift. He then got to choose which exact fish and frogs he wanted.

We had to "establish the ecosystem" before introducing the animals to it. So we set up the tank and filled it with water, installed the filter and waited five days. Five, long days, to my son. Finally it was the day to go get the creatures. This time, the expert recommended only purchasing one at a time, either only the fish or only the frogs, and letting them become acclimated to the new ecosystem before getting the other creature. Who knew this would be so complicated? So we got the fish first. They are very tiny fish and they loved their new environment.

My son had the hardest time naming them, though. We had many discussions over the supper table about the subject. I don't think he even decided until after we got the frogs. The frogs were easy to name. This is my son's sense of humor. The smaller one is Tadman and the larger one is Ikroka. They were named after BSU football players, Marty Tadman and George Iloka (play on words, this one). The fish are named Electron (greenish/yellow one), Reflector (orange one) and Bob (red one).

So we brought home the fish and then one week later, brought home the frogs. It was fun to watch them moving around in the tank, which is in my boy's room, by the way. The next day I go to wake up my son and first thing he does is check the animals. There are two frogs and two fish. two. fish. Where is the orange fish? Not hiding in the fake plant, not stuck in the filter, not in the rocks. No evidence he ever existed. Well, I have one bewildered boy on my hands and I was stumped, as well. Steve came home that night and took one look at the tank and declared what a fat tummy Ikroka had. Shock and disbelief. This frog is maybe one and a half inches fully stretched out, probably closer to one inch.

The campaign for a replacement fish began. The parents didn't think they should pay for another fish. The boy didn't think he should pay for another fish. It wasn't his fault his birthday gift was eaten. In the end, though, we split the cost of another fish. It really wasn't anybody's fault. (The frogs have been getting an increase in their regular food supply after this whole incident.) So, Sunday, after lunch, we went and picked out another fish, named Reflector 2. All was right with the world again.

Until Monday morning. I woke up my son for another day and looked in the tank. Two frogs and ...two...fish. Are you kidding me?!? Two fish. The yellow one was gone. My boy was mad and disappointed and said, "I don't want that frog anymore." It never, not once, occurred to Steve or me that this would happen again. Obviously, we wouldn't have purchased another fish if we had thought that. What is up with that Ikroka frog? Steve re-named it "I-make-a-you-a-croak-a." Funny. Not really. But, yes, funny. But, not really.

Life is hard, and kinda funny.

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