I have always thought of myself as a "boy mom". Perhaps it's having 2 sons so close in age (16 months apart. Yes, we know where babies come from. No, neither pregnancy was planned. Yes, we waited months to tell anyone I was pregnant with Jack because when you are carrying a 7 month old baby in one hand and holding a positive pee stick with the other you immediately become overwhelmed and know that just one "you must be Catholic" joke will send you over the hormonal edge.) and having been a young(er) mom for those 2 little darlings... wholly embracing the ideals of sticks and snails and while drawing the line at puppy dog tails, I have never thought of myself as prissy or fussy.
So, when Jack announced to the world at large (me) that his life would be made immeasurably better by the addition of a fat tail gecko, I was like, "Ask Claus" and then did a happy dance in my head because the "Big Gift" of Christmas had been settled.
Thanks to the magic of the Internet I've heard from a couple of you that A) a Bearded Dragon makes a better pet and B) one of the dogs will probably eat the gecko.
But, you know, all season, I've been thinking, Jake gets the new phone and Eva gets American Girl Goodness and Jack gets the gecko... Santa should thank me because I am making his job easier.
We thought it was probably a good idea to head to Reptropolis, (despite where this story is headed, I think we can all agree that this wins for best store name ever) to get an overview on Bearded Dragon vs. Fat Tail Gecko and learn about who needs what and how much for it do they need and etc... in other words, I already clean up after 3 dogs and I am not adding reptile crap to my list of chores.
Yesterday, as Hugh and myself and the kids as well as my Mother in Law and my Dad walk through doors proclaiming, "Huge Savings on Monitor Lizards", we were immediately assailed by the smell. OMG. The SMELL. Like pee and hay and fish food and good gag did it take all I had not to toss my cookies.
To the right there was a large open pen with a pod (posse? herd? bunch?) of turtles all being looked after by an iguana the size of my fucking dog.
There are cages all over the place with snakes. Goddamn snakes just willy nilly and I promise you, I saw one trying to make a break for it. He had his beady snake head up against the sliding door and was dragging himself back and forth... he KNEW this would eventually be the way out.
Eva immediately heads for the iguana, Jake and Jack take off for some back part of the store, my husband is oohing and ahhing over God only knows and my father turns to me and says, "You're nuts." And I ask him, "Is it warm in here?"
However, I gamely march up to the counter and ask the girl bleeding from a recent rat bite (you'd fight too if you knew you were about to be lunch) to please explain, Jack get over here, all there is to know about these creatures. Also, is anyone else hot?
She presses a clean tissue to her finger and starts to talk about heat lamps on 24 hours a day and other lights on for 12 hours a day and nocturnal and crickets and I was like, Whoa, what's this about the crickets? Turns out you need to purchase a week's worth at a time which is roughly 70 damn crickets and you have to feed them until it's their turn to go... feed the feed she chuckles and I say, "Wow, it's really hot in here..."
And then my husband and my Mother in Law are looking at me and asking if I feel all right and no, not really... it's HOT and OMG again with the snakes and the Monitor Lizard which looks like it could eat me and it occurs to me that I may never sleep again if anything from this store moves into our house. And oh wow, it's the early stirrings of a panic attack.
I step outside. Eventually the rest follow, except for my father who wisely made his exit earlier.
We get in the car, I ask for a mint or a candy cane or anything and Jack says, "Well, I guess since Mom almost fainted, a new boogie board would be a nice present too..."
That sweet child. He deserves the lizard of his choice after such thougtfullness.
But, he'll be getting a body board (and new fins).