Monday, April 16, 2012

We Have Frogs... Yes, Frogs!

Frogs, frogs, freaky frogs!
 So.... We now have frogs.

Freaky little frogs that completely freak me out but these frogs have turned around life in my house, in a nutshell.

Until Aug. 1, 2011, we had a dog. A lovely dog, which I considered my first child. My husband and I got our dear Bailey, a Sheltie, about 18 months before my oldest was born. Last year, when she was 10 years old, we discovered she had cancer. It was sad, and awful, and mournful. I felt as if I lost a child, and I felt robbed since she clearly could have lived another four years or so, but that was in the cards for our dear Bailey. I still get so upset about it, even typing this post. She should still be with us, but I am thankful for the decade we got. She was a wonderful, good, friendly dog.

Big Girl did not know life without this special pet of ours. Althought we have lost family members, most have been elderly, and clearly did not live with us. I was grateful for our dog's passing prior to the start of school, allowing for some healing. However, that said, the grief has been dredged up in recent weeks. I'm not sure why. We have talked about getting another dog, but Big Girl is hesistant, which makes me feel she is clearly not ready, at all. She is definitely not sure. She wants a dog, but she is afraid to lose another dog. I desperately want a dog, but I have 2-year-old twins who are like puppies in themselves, so I am leaving the moment of adding a furball to our family up to my older child. When she is ready, we will be ready. And hopefully I will be ready for the "work" a new pup will entail.

Big Girl seems consumed lately about pet talk: Kids talk about pets all the time. In school, one of the most common get-to-know-you question is about pets. Lunch with the principal: "Do you have a pet?" is asked. Watching a science video: Cats and dogs are featured. Eating lunch in the cafeteria: "My cat did this..." or "My dog is ..." becomes the topic of conversation. Big Girl has taken these situations especially hard recently, and many tears have been shed over missing the companionship of our pup, and not having any animal to fill the void.

In a moment of weakness amidst a recent rash of what seemed like anxiety and stress in Big Girl's life, I decided that perhaps we needed something... just something... that was a living being other than 2-year-old siblings in this house. Something that could be declared pet-worthy. So this MoM scoops up the toddlers and loads them into the car to go purchase these tiny frogs that are a popular item at the local teacher supply store. Yes, not even a pet store. (Please, no "hate" comments on this. They seem healthy and have all their limbs and were well-cared for by the staff there, who were knowledgeable.) As far as expense: I had a coupon -- $10 off the $25 price tag! So many families I know seem to have these creatures (and they have survived years in these families!) that I thought maybe this is a good transition. Possibly a good "pet" to ease the tenuous pet converstaion among tween friends. Not furry, so less attachment, but living, and needing minimal care. Pet-worthy.

The twins and I did our best picking out a pair of African dwarf frogs. (Actually, we picked out the color of the aquarium rocks that Big Girl would like the best. It's hard to choose between pairs of tiny freaky frogs that basically look the same.) We brought them home, and later that day, after school and activities, I surprised the oldest with her new pets.

She was so thrilled! We brainstormed names, and since they are supposed to be two boy frogs, we came up with Phineas & Ferb, after one of her favorite TV shows. It is cleary appropriate phonetically to go with the whole "F" sound in frogs, don't you think? Here, check them out, ready for their close-up: 
Phineas & Ferb? Or Ferb & Phineas?
Now the basics. These frogs are from a company called Wild Creations, and they are apparently as much a lesson in science as they are pets. The frogs come in a little tiny acrylic "box" called an Ecoquarium. There's no need for a filter or anything -- a stick of live bamboo provides oxygen. Food? Basically, we feed them these tiny pellets twice a week. Every few months, we need to empty out about 3/4 of the water out and refill with spring water. Everything else takes care of itself, due to special gravel in the bottom and the bamboo that oxygenates the whole kit-n-kaboodle. It's an ecosystem in itself -- that's science, moms! I consider it not only a pet, but a learning tool. (Check out how it works here, which includes a PDF file of the ecosystem.) Coincidentally, Big Girl is studying ecosystems right now in school. So I get the double-whammy award for a pet and a connection to the school curriculum. Applause for MoM!

The end result of this whole frog lesson is this: Big Girl can now say she has a pet. She's happy about that -- very happy! It's not as much an emotional attachment, as no petting and hugging is involved. So it's safe in her eyes. It's not a lot of work. Yay for me. Food is cheap ($3.99 for a year? Sign me up!) Another yay for me. It doesn't take up much space. Woo hoo! They are very entertaining to watch swim around and hide and stretch their webbed limbs. And it's so cute to hear the twins say "Froggies!"

Let's just hope they don't decide to set them free one day.

No comments:

Post a Comment