Little Scribbler wants a dog.
Too bad for Little Scribbler.
We live in an 1100 square foot apartment, which houses 2 adults, 1 child, two cats, 100000 tons of toys and books, a mini trampoline (for LS’s occupational therapy), a big plastic child’s playcar (the kind you ride in), a toy kitchen set, a baby’s crib (set up already, for NextKid) and potentially another baby within the next year. Neither my nerves nor my apartment can handle the addition of a dog– a certainly not a “white poodledoodle” which is the kind of dog Little Scribbler has decided she wants!
So anyway, Friday is her birthday. The Auditor and I have been toying with the idea of a small pet for Little Scribbler since before Christmas. She is in looooove with our two kitties, and hugs them, pets them, feeds them and generally loves up on them every. single. day. Her first word was “tikky” (kitty). We frequently go to the pet store and reptile store to visit the animals– she LOVES it!
The problem is that, at age four, she’s still much to young to care for a pet all by herself, and since The Auditor, bless his lucky soul, goes to work every day, I will be the primary caretaker for whatever small critter joins our household.
(Interesting side note– I just realized I am watching Olivia the Pig on television while I type this…and Little Scribbler is in school! I was actually enjoying the music…but I digress!)
So The Auditor gets the brilliant idea that we should get her fish. Little Scribbler has a deep and desperate love of all things aquatic. We took her to the Baltimore Aquarium a few months ago and I thought she would have a stroke she was so excited. It was all she talked about for WEEKS afterwards! That being said, I have been the primary caretaker of goldfish before and it is not picnic! You LOOK at them wrong and the water magically changed pH and BOOM! dead fish. Er….I mean “fish on vacation”!
So fish are out. Having also owned a rather crotchety hamster in my formative years, I can tell you that small rodents are DEFINITELY out. They do not enjoy cuddling, and yet, they look so cuddlable! Bad combination for Little Scribbler. Plus….they sort of smell.
Enter the Leopard Gecko. After a lengthy discussion with a Petsmart employee, I determined that the leopard gecko would be a really cool pet for a preschooler. You can feed it bugs and fruit, it doesnt need or like to be touched or held, and the…aroma, shall we say, is minimal. Plus it’s super cheap.
Enter the Auditor, who chooses NOW to weigh in on a pet he wont be resposnible for and which wont cost him a lot of money. He thinks lizards are “boring” and “dumb”. He doesnt want to shell out for the lizard. Now frankly that never stopped me before (:)), but I figure I’ll spend some time at least TRYING to convince him…
So during the course of our negotiations, someone, I honestly forget who but probably me, brought up the possibility of hermit crabs. DING DING DING! Cheap. Low maintenance. Very active so LS can watch. Don’t need to be held. Can clean the tank without touching them (WOOHOOOOOO!). PERFECT!
Now that we’ve decided to get her hermit crabs for her birthday, I begin to google.
Do you know how many ways there are to kill a $4 hermit crab?! Do you know it requires 70% humidity? Do you know every single website says something different about wether or not to give it “sand substrate”, “cali-sand substrate”, or “coconut bark mulch” substrate!? That they live happiest in groups?! That if you have five or more, they will exhibit “pack behavior”?! That they like to climb, can hang upside down off the cage lid, will kill each other over shells, are cannibalistic and will eat their tankmate if they die, bury themselves underground to mold every three months and then eat their own exoskeleton when they’re done?!
Sure, they have cute, colorful shells. SURE, they eat table food (meat and produce). SURE they make a cool chiriping noise.
But I’m starting to hyperventiliate about keeping them alive until Little Scribbler’s birthday on Friday! I’ve checked on them about 20 times in the last hour. (They havent moved. Not even one inch. They may be dead already for all I know). The cats are eyeing the tank like it’s full of delicious snacks. How can they tell there is even anythign ALIVE in there!? You can’t see them because they’re buried in their shells, they have ZERO detectable odor as far as my nose is concerned, and they havent moved an inch! I have to go pick up LS from school soon, and I’m concerned I’m going to come back to an empty tank and two very satisfied cats!
This is very stressful. Who’s brilliant idea was this, anyway?!