Back in February when Nora turned two, I allowed myself to be convinced her pleas for a turtle for her birthday should be given in to.
Tadd was a harder sell, but gave in against his better judgement. He even went off to the pet store to purchase the turtle and an aquarium set up kit while I whisked Nora home for a nap. What a kind Daddy. He and Ezra worked long and hard to get the aquarium in working order. Now, the main reason that Nora wanted a turtle was because she had been fascinated by the turtle at her cousins' house in California. Their turtle is named Plymouth. From the time we were there in December until her birthday Nora kept insisting "I get Pimuth my birfday!" Plymouth seemed small and easy to care for. He lived in the outdoor pool of said cousins' house for a week before he was discovered and brought in to an aquarium. He was able to be left for long weekends with a few extra food pellets and no other care. He regularly swims laps in their pool and stays healthy and happy. What's not to like, huh?
We did a little Internet research on aquatic turtles (whatever did we do before the Internet??? Find the yellow pages, call a pet store, wait on hold for twenty minutes and then pose our questions to a human being, that's what). The main concern seemed to be that they carry salmonella and so young children should not handle them. I figured that was good, that meant we wouldn't have to take the turtle out and play with it. Win-win. So, Nora got her birthday turtle. And he is much, much bigger than Plymouth was. And not nearly as social. We found out that turtles have personalities and our turtle, who is a male, is moody. He must be about 13 because all he does is sleep, eat, poop and hide under his rock with a grumpy look on his face. Nora really wanted to name him Plymouth, but was overridden in that decision and so Tommy Sea Turtle was christened into the family. Nora likes to drop food in his tank--she tasted the food only once, once was enough, thankfully. It tastes "icky" apparently. If you open Tommy's tank for feeding or cleaning purposes she will say over and over again "Don't scare MY Tommy!"
Let me tell you, me scaring Tommy is not as big a problem as Tommy scaring me. I do NOT like touching him. It took me about 5 times of cleaning his tank before I would pick him up. And in the picture above (taken by Caroline) I was about to scream like a girl at the top of my lungs and drop him back into the water. Turtles bark when they are mad--it's very quiet--and he was barking and flailing his little turtle limbs at me. Red eared sliders are known to bite. I don't care to find out how bad it hurts. If you ask Nora these days "How's Tommy?" her only reply is "He poops." And it's true, he does, a lot. I get to use a turkey baster to suck it all out of the bottom of his tank and clean up the water once a week. It's the highlight of my week. Seriously. I love it. What? You don't believe me? A couple weeks ago when I finished with my tank cleaning chore, Nora said in a very stern and motherly voice to HER Tommy "Now don't poop Tommy." She read my mind.