parenting

Being Responsible…for a turtle

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Logan came home from my parents’ house the other day longing for a pet turtle. If you haven’t noticed yet, he’s a nagger. Nag, nag, nag. Persistence until I want to bang my head violently against a wall. Asking for an alligator, snake, iguana, turtle, or a tiger that won’t bite is the norm around here. I say “no” and life goes on…except for this weekend.

This weekend my parents took the boys on a nature walk. During their journey they ran into a environmental team tagging turtles. Conversation started and Logan began educating the group on everything he knew about turtles and reptiles alike, which is quite a bit. The team even sent him home with some shell sheds (yes, turtles shed). You would have thought it was gold.

Of course when he came home he started asking to get a turtle for a pet. It was all he could think about, talk about, and draw. Then on came the persistent nagging for a pet turtle. How he would build his habitat. What kinds of rocks he would look for to put in the habitat. On and on. As I put him to bed he asked so sincerely for a turtle. Of course in the back of my mind is the cost, the feeding, the SMELL. Did I mention salmonella? Yes, they carry salmonella! Filters, heating rocks, feeder fish! No, no, no.

I went right into my “responsibility” chat, trying to buy myself a few years. Maybe when he turned 10. TEN!! He was outraged. I talked to him about being responsible. He’s seven. Why should have to pick his clothes out in the morning and tell him 6 times to get dressed? His little brother manages to get up and get himself dressed every morning without guidance. He will even take 45 minutes in the bathroom hoping that I will cave and take care of his business for him because he thinks wiping a bum is disgusting…yeah it is, do your own. He’s seven. He knows the morning routine of breakfast, brush teeth, get shoes on, get your back pack. Why should have to say it twenty times? Responsibility.

Well the lecture set in his brain while he slept through the night. When I woke the next morning, with his face right in mine with a happy grin, I saw that he was all dressed for school. He then proceeded to tell me that he let the dogs out, fed them, made his own waffles, and put Justin Time on Netflix for he and his brothers to watch when they got up. I thought I might be dreaming so I just rolled over. Then he added, “I put me and Deacon’s lunches in our back packs.” What the hell was this, the Twilight Zone? Where was my son?

He was so proud. Just beaming. Then he asked, “So can I have a turtle now? I’m responsible.”

To which I replied (just like Mama Bear), “Sometimes, occasionally, and once in a while don’t count.” UGH, MOM!

I know, sometimes I’m a hard ass. However, he understood. All week he has been making an effort to be more responsible. When he asked how much longer he had to do this my reply was “the rest of your life.” Hey, it’s true! As far as the pet turtle goes, I’m not sure. I haven’t decided. There are just so many cons. We’ll hold off for now. But seeing him grow into a more responsible little man is so rewarding.

5 thoughts on “Being Responsible…for a turtle

  1. I love how kids think one day of being good = enough to get whatever they want and right away! Mine do the same thing! But it is pretty impressive that he has continued it longer than one day (mine are usually only good for a day and then they conveniently go back to the old routine)! That’s definitely a great start! 🙂

  2. Maybe the turtle is just the trigger to get him to keep at it. You said he was persistent. 🙂

    By the way, you don’t need feeder fish, if that makes you squeamish. My brother had three Red Eared Sliders (turtles) growing up and I remember he used to get a beef heart, freeze it and shave off slices to feed to them. Hope that helps. 🙂

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