Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Reasons Never To Take The Class Pet Home on Vacation

Months ago, my son's 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. P, sent around a sign-up sheet for volunteers to take the class frog, Kermit, home over vacation breaks.

Clearly delirious, I thought, "This definitely sounds like something a good, involved mom would do!" and promptly signed my name in blood on the dotted line.

Reasons Never To Take The Class Pet Home on Vacation -- In my zeal to be the world's best mom, I volunteered to take home my son's class frog for the holiday. Before long, I realized I'd made a terrible mistake.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Before I'd really had a chance to think about what I'd done, we were trundling out of my son's classroom to our car with a huge heat lamp, a shoebox of extra bulbs and other amphibian accessories, and a big, heavy tank filled with a terrified American green tree frog and 13 nasty crickets hiding in the leaves.

Reasons Never To Take The Class Pet Home on Vacation -- In my zeal to be the world's best mom, I volunteered to take home my son's class frog for the holiday. Before long, I realized I'd made a terrible mistake.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

If you're ever thinking about taking the class pet home, just know that it will be a terrible idea. Because...

1. You'll constantly be worrying about whether you killed it or not. 

I was bent over Kermit's tank 30-plus times a day checking to see if he was still breathing. I don't even do that with my newborn babies, you guys.

Nonstop I interrogated Phillip, as if he knew anything more than I did about frogs: "It's not moving. It hasn't moved today. Is it not supposed to move all day? Are their eyes supposed to be half-open when they're sleeping? The teacher said we'd need to feed him again on Tuesday but there are still lots of crickets in there. How much is he supposed to eat? Is he sick? How do you know if a frog is sick? Why isn't he eating?!?"

Neurotic? Yes. But what else was I supposed to do? What if I, in my zeal to be supermom, ended up murdering my son's pet?

2. Its food will totally gross you out. 

I didn't even think about the fact that it would be eating live crickets until I was in Mrs. P's classroom picking Kermit up, when it was already too late to run screaming from the room.

I could barely stand to grab the water dishes to refill them with fresh water because there were crickets near them, or on them. And it gets better  I had to drive to Petco to buy more midway through the week and then DRIVE HOME WITH THEM IN MY CAR.

Reasons Never To Take The Class Pet Home on Vacation -- In my zeal to be the world's best mom, I volunteered to take home my son's class frog for the holiday. Before long, I realized I'd made a terrible mistake.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Live bugs: The thing I least wanted to buy, ever.

I'm only mildly exaggerating when I say I needed to shower after I got home and then fight the urge to douse the car with gasoline and burn it.

I never even knew bugs creeped me out so much until this experience.

3. Let's talk more about its food  loose in your house. 

When I discovered a random cricket had gotten free from the tank somehow, a noise escaped my mouth that I don't think I've even made in labor. (It was only then that my son chose to tell me, "Yeah, that happens all the time in my class.")


I was jumping around screaming "Kill it! Kill it!" and Phillip smashed it with a decorative wooden block on our desk that said "Family." As in, if you start hopping around my house with your creepy roving antennae and your beady bug eyes, our family will destroy you. And we will like it.

4. Your other kids will terrorize it. 

Aside from my worries about our very curious 2-year-old figuring out how to open the cage, I had to remind the other kids constantly not to tap on the glass.

Reasons Never To Take The Class Pet Home on Vacation -- In my zeal to be the world's best mom, I volunteered to take home my son's class frog for the holiday. Before long, I realized I'd made a terrible mistake.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

I was convinced that the stress of this combined with the noise would definitely cause the poor frog to die (see #1.)

5. You will remember why you don't own a pet, or even any live plants, for that matter. 

I never wanted to take Kermit home. I only did it because I wanted to create lasting warm fuzzy childhood memories for my son. For him one day to remember that his mom did fun things like let the class frog stay at their house for the week.

Call me heartless, but I'm just not a pet person. And even if I were, we would definitely not be getting a frog. There's the gross factor, which I've already covered. They're expensive (six crickets, a week's worth of food, cost $1.22 which means I'd be shelling out over $60 a year to feed the thing.) And most of all, they're boring. It was like Mardi Gras for my kids every time Kermit moved an inch and a half, because he typically just sat there all day appearing to be dead.

So I was basically cleaning out his stinky water dishes and getting the heebie-jeebies from all the crickets staring at me all week for my own enjoyment.

In short, I was relieved to get Kermit back to Mrs. P at the end of the week. I think he may have even been more anxious to get out of here:

Reasons Never To Take The Class Pet Home on Vacation -- In my zeal to be the world's best mom, I volunteered to take home my son's class frog for the holiday. Before long, I realized I'd made a terrible mistake.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
If a frog can look distressed, this is probably it.

Incidentally, on the way back to school to drop Kermit off, I asked my son, "So did you like having Kermit at our house over the break?"

He shrugged at me and said, "I didn't really care."

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Katy said...

You WERE clearly delirious! Ah well, now you know and you can duck and cover in future classrooms. Live crickets, ewwww!

Cyndi said...

My son volunteered to feed the science teachers pet boa constrictor one summer. It did NOT live in our house, because I came to the conclusion a long time ago that raising our kids overseas was about as adventurous as I ever intended to get, and while we might have lived on the mission field, we were NOT bringing jungle things into our house. Said snake stayed at the school and we had to go down and feed him twice a week, and clean out his cage. Boa constrictors eat guinea pigs, in case you're wondering. I cry at cat food commercials, and Sarah Whats-her-name has ruined me with her ASPCA blitzes so you can only imagine the mental anguish that came with putting that poor guinea pig into the tank and leaving it there. I threatened said child with death and destruction if he ever volunteered us again.

Anonymous said...

My brother brought home the class pet for a school break - a one-eyed mangy guinea pig. Yes, one-eyed. It had one good eye and one crusty black socket that oozed just a little bit.
Our dog, sweet tempered dog who never chased rabbits or barked at squirrels knew it was evil. And so one afternoon as we were all out of the house doing errands and whatnot, the dog broke into the rodents' cage and killed the monster. Good dog, says I.

My parents of course bought a replacement - a fluffy gem of a guinea pig. When they took it to school, the teacher thanked my mother. Apparently she'd thought ol' Squinty was a creepy little terror.

Purfylle said...

This is such an awesome story! It reminds me of when I badgered my Mum into doing a stint at the school Tuck-shop (canteen) just like the 'other mum's' and on the day I was too busy to care.

Don't worry, your son will remember when he is older and he will love you all the more for your week of horror.

Jenny Evans said...

I don't even know what to say to this! Guinea pigs? So glad you didn't let it stay at your house. That sounds like a really good decision on your part.

Jenny Evans said...

Animals always know: that's why they have seizure dogs and the like. Thankfully it all worked out for the best, and Squinty can still live on in your nightmares.

Jenny Evans said...

I hope so!

Jenny said...

Hahahaha I laughed so hard at this only because I can relate to the frog thing 100%. When my dog died my sisters boyfriend thought it would be a good idea to get my sister and I frogs. She was excited and so was I. Then we had to feed it. Guess who I mean when I say we, yeah, I always had to feed the nasty things. One day after my sisters smaller, faster frog caught all of the crickets that actually made it into the tank, my bigger ornery frog tried to eat my sisters frog. That was it! After having a melt down because I didn't know how to get it out of the tank to take it back to the store with out touching it, I finally took it back and let my sister take care of hers alone. The next day my mom woke us up in a panic because my sisters frog got out of the cage. We never found it. It must have escaped down the drain. And now I know that I will never allow frogs or any other kind of reptiles in my house. Pets or otherwise.

The Lady Okie said...

Too funny! You definitely don't want to be the one who kills the class pet. As if you don't have enough going on! I'm not a pet person ether, and definitely not a frog... Although $60 a year seems cheaper to feed than a dog...

Jenny Evans said...

But I think the entertainment value and enjoyment value of owning a frog is significantly less than a dog... because for me, it was zero.

Jenny Evans said...

I was really afraid of the frog getting loose in the house, too. Either that it would suddenly show signs of life and jump out while I was changing the water or that my 2-year-old would figure out how to open the cage (so we kept it turned around backwards for most of the week just in case.)

Sorry to hear about your experience. I hope your sister dumped that boyfriend. (If they ended up getting married or something, tell them I said "hahahaha, just kidding!")!

Michelle said...

Hysterical. You are supermom. The crickets would be my undoing.

Jenny Evans said...

They pretty much were. It was a rough week, and now I'm scared of bugs.

Rosie said...

Well I'm certainly sold on never taking a pet home! I always wanted to take our school pet, a hedgehog, home in elementary school... But we had big dogs who probably would have tried to eat it and THAT would have gone poorly!

Jenny Evans said...

Funny how your perspective changes when you're the mom who would have to take care of said class pet...

Tubbs said...

The Tubblet's school had a cuddly toy that all the children could take home for a week. We went through some of the same issues - the Tubblet's record with losing things is fantastic so I was googling where to buy another one just in case! All the children had to write up a diary of the toy's adventures ... The other classmates had taken it to France, adventure parks, museums etc and shown it a really good time. We took it to visit family and church. It probably enjoyed the rest!

Jenny Evans said...

That's funny, my daughter's class did that last year. She happened to have Furball home on the same weekend as her birthday so she liked taking pictures of him/her participating in the party and playing with her presents. If you ask me, that was infinitely better than a live pet going home with us, and the kids probably had more fun with it.

mothers shadow said...

Oh my word, I just read this post and the comments to my hubby and we laughed so hard at it all!!! I love this and enjoy every bit of it. We've had our own adventures with animals and kids, but your sense of humor and spin on it makes it all the better my friend.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog through The Lady Okie's blog and I have to say - you're so hilarious I probably should stop reading it at work! :D This made the laugh so hard for a couple reasons:
1. I'm not a pet person either. My husband found a little lost turtle one day and we tried to keep it, but we couldn't get it to eat anything! *We released our turtle Stu back in the wild... We also killed our pet Beta fish. A BETA! You can't kill those things if you TRY!
2. I'm deathly afraid of crickets (and grasshoppers)! I hate them with a passion! I also can't kill things that "crunch" when you kill them, so I have been known to leave the house until my husband got home (hours later) to kill one, rather than be in the same building!
3. My parents took the class bunny home for Spring Break when I was in elementary school. I couldn't take him out of the cage, so it was incredibly boring and lackluster!
Thanks for the laughs! Off to read more! :)

Anonymous said...

I don't know how I got here but I just find it hilarious you're scared of a dumpy tree frog. They are pretty entertaining pets if you know how to care for them although I think you'd be too scared to ever figure that out. Also $60 to feed a pet a year isn't that much. The reason Kermit didn't move is because they are nocturnal.