Monday, February 9, 2009

Guest Post: The Mother

ThreeUnderTwo had a veterinary emergency this morning, so she issued a cry for help.

And all she got was me.

The veterinary emergency got me thinking about the whole kids-and-pets thing, which, as every mother knows, is a constant source of maternal frustration and kid-parent friction.

As any mother of teenagers would, I have a lot of kid-pet stories. Stop me if you've heard this one.

Some idiot decided that it would be a great idea to give out live goldfish as prizes at one of those stupid school carnivals.

(As a rule, I avoid school carnivals like the plague. No, more than the plague. We can cure the plague now. I'm trying to remember WHY I ended up at this one. Karma, probably).

The kid recipient is SO excited to receive his goldfish in a baggie that you have no choice but to take it home.

The goldfish, of course, can't live in his little baggie forever, so you stop by the pet store and buy a fish bowl. You're now ten bucks into this free goldfish prize.

So, you get home and you start reading up about fish and aquariums and tanks and oxygenators and ammonia and everything, and you realize that you're doing it wrong.

Back to the pet shop, where you pick up a real tank, with an oxygenator and the ammonia filters. You get the little snails that eat algae and the little green things that are supposed to make the goldfish happy and the treasure chest that makes your kid happy. You are now forty dollars into the FREE goldfish.

Your child SWEARS that he will take care of the goldfish. He PROMISES that he will keep the tank clean. (Get it in writing. Or on tape).

But, as every parent knows, children are fickle. Today, their goldfish is their cherished prize. Tomorrow, they have better things to do.

So you end up cleaning out the tank and taking care of the goldfish.

Inevitably, the goldfish will die. Your child will be heartbroken. Because now, it's his prized possession again. Only it's dead.

Back to the pet shop. You replace his goldfish. While you're there, the pet store people give you a lecture on how to properly care for your goldfish, this time around, preying upon your grief like a funeral supplier trying to sell you a $15,000 casket. You end up leaving with another 40 bucks worth of accessories and accoutrement.

Your child SWEARS that he will take care of THIS goldfish.

You are now $80 into the damn FREE goldfish.

The goldfish will die. They do that.

The cycle repeats.

Until someone gives your child a PUPPY.

The Mother

www.mothershandbook.net (where she writes about the people who make mothers' lives miserable, including, occasionally, the children.)

PS: I still have that damn aquarium. It is currently in my garage, being inhabited by cobwebs and ghosts of goldfish past.

4 people stopped folding laundry to write:

Cheryl Lage said...

Hysterical post, Mother! When I first moved to the town in which I currently dwell (as a single gal), I got a coupon for free goldfish from the local pet shop. Yes, I collected my free fish, and a small rabbit, a cage and all the periphery a bunny demands. The goldfish lasted less than a week...the bunny was beloved for 8 years. That free goldfish ploy gets you everytime.

Hoping ThreeUnder's emergency is resolving well. Keeping her and Ashleigh in thoughts....

Thanks for the smile, Mother!

DebD said...

Oh, I recognize that. We got two "free" guinea pigs that ended up costing us an arm and a leg. It doesn't help that stations like Animal Planet lay on the guilt beams if you don't take your beloved pet in at every sniffle and trouble. It used to be that a pet just took its natural life course and then you buried it in the backyard - no fuss, no muss. Now you're considered for animal neglect if you don't do x-rays and prescriptions on a rodent!

Raggedy Girl said...

Great post! I am a great gramma who takes care of two of the little "greats" so we have two dog, two birds, one hamster and about 10 tropical fish. Hey what happened to the empty nest and that syndrome I was entitled to?
Roberta Anne

Catherine said...

Fabulous post! It sure sounds familiar!

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