Sep 30, 2013

Adventures with Ahrens kills sea life in mass quantity.

This portion typed back in August 2013

Each birthday or holiday, I put a lot of thought into what gifts might best suit that child.  I not only have to work within a strict budget, but I also help one set of grandparents with ideas as well.  Last year, we found a really great set of gifts for our son, and just as I suspected, while it was a very large expense at the time, he used them, daily!  A trampoline, home made gymnastics bar, and super thick tumble mat that he drags to the bar or back into the living room to practice tumbling.  That was the most money we had ever spent on gifts, but we also took into account the therapeutic benefits that our son, on the spectrum and with sensory integration dysfunction, would be gaining through his newest passion.  It all paid off.  Charlie no longer comes home to spin in circles.  He gets joint compression and spelling study help through tumbling or bar work now! (This typed when they attended public school, over a month ago.  They are home schooled now.  What a difference a month makes.)

This year, we have both birthdays quickly approaching, a set of grandparents that give Chanukkah gifts and Chanukkah begins the same night as Thanksgiving this year!  I have to come up with a birthday gift from Geoff and I, one from my folks, and then, a gift for my folks to get each of them for Chanukkah!  EEKS.  Well, a few weeks ago, I thought I came up with the best idea.  Shay had really been hinting at wanting a bird.  I do not desire to care for or clean up after anything more.  So, I thought that fish might be a nice alternative for each of their rooms.  I approached each of them, and both were so excited.  Then, I talked to my mom about the possibility.  She was totally on board.  And then, I researched.  And after serious thought, I realized that I really didn't want to have to clean out even the smallest of tanks.  And, they will die, and I know one particularly sensitive child really doesn't need that on the heels of losing a very special cousin this past summer to Cancer.  So, how might I get them to "un want" these fish? 

I cleaned a house on Monday that had a small sea monkey kit on he kitchen counter.  (See, this was typed a while ago.. haven't cleaned a house in that long!) BINGO!  I came home, researched, and guess what????  NO cleaning at all!  Just add water, as needed!  AND--- they reproduce new shrimp, I mean, "monkeys," all the time.  As if this couldn't get any better, I found a ton of Youtube videos of these things mating!  They mate for days on end, therefore, it's sorta' hard to miss the fun.  I found the kits at  If you buy in the store, it is about ten dollars.  If you purchase online, and go to pick it up, it's only five dollars!  Holy cow!  So, I ordered two, and hoped for he best.  Luckily, I am pretty good at getting into their minds and making them think they want some thing- or not.  All it took was a viewing of Youtube and some ridiculous facts, and presto- I have two children that are eagerly anticipating their Sea Monkeys.  Phew.  Crisis averted.  

Look, as parents, we need to know that realistically, children are not able to properly take care of themselves, and we can not entrust other lives to them to properly maintain.  Having responsibilities like helping to feed the family pet is fine, but knowing our limits and how much time we have to devote to other pets in our home is really up to the adults to manage.  This adult knows sea monkeys are going to be just as captivating as a fish or a frog would have been.  They will love it at first, then the excitement will wear off as soon as they realized that they really can't do much with an aquatic friend.  However, my soon to be seven year-old is convinced that she will be training her newest pets.  I suppose, at some point, I will have to admit that these sea monkeys are not only NOT monkeys, but that the water is less sea and more bottled, than is advertised.  Until then, can we all just play along like these hard to see shrimp are really as much fun as a gold fish?  Thanks!

Sept. 30, 2013 Okay, this was typed and placed in a folder for unedited and random posts that I thought I  might pull out when I felt the cobwebs collecting on the blog.  Let me share our experience, to date.
Charlie turned eight!  It was anti-climactic as our family had recently gone through some intense drama, and his birthday was not celebrated as we normally have.  We did the best we could, and the grandparents that were gifting the sea monkeys had given him a 4th generation iPod and a globe earlier in the week.  By birthday weekend, they came just to drop off the little sea monkey kit.  He was too excited.  I bought the distilled water, prepared the water and a day later, we were ready to add the little egg packet.  It was amazing.  A few days later, those same grandparents came to the house and saw the little sea monkeys swimming around.  By that day, we could really see them, and there had to be at least fifty or more!

I had done a ton of research on this little guys, and turns out, they need to be aerated.  I could purchase the four dollar sea monkey aerator, or just make my own.  I made two types, and the second worked the best.  The second was attaching a dollar aeration stone to the end of a straw with super glue, and just blowing into the straw for a minute or so, each day.  Well, Shay warned me that this might not be the best choice.  And sadly, within 7 days, not one was living.  ALL.DEAD.  Oh my gosh, I can't even begin to tell you.  First, I ran and paid the one dollar replacement cost for a new set of eggs and water purifier.  Second, I had to explain that a 6 year old made a healthier choice than a 36 year old.  (I suppose brine shrimp don't care for coffee breathe?  Hmmmm, peculiar little fellas.)  Did you know that adult sea monkeys have three eyes and breath through their feet?  They are crazy weird.  Not as weird as the creator of these sea monkeys.

So, while I thought sea monkeys were my answer to a prayer when I realized I don't really want any more responsibility in the house, I was wrong.  So wrong.  However, I have a new obsession that I swear I will have up and going in the next week or two.  SELF.CONTAINED.ECOSYSTEMS.  I have found them on, where else, but, and just need two more 2 liter bottles.  Geoff just bought one today, and at the rate he is going, I am sure that will be ready in a day or two.  I need three total, so any neighbor willing to donate to the cause, you know where I live!  I am so excited!  Science lesson, pets, etc!  I will add snails and fish to the basement level of the ecosystem, and plant life on two levels.  I am not kidding you.  I am soooo getting into this. (All this while we await the replacement sea monkeys for child number one, and child number two will be receiving her first set on her birthday, in less than two months.)  It's an exciting time for aquatic life in the Ahrens home!   

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