My ten-year-old has been campaigning pretty hard for an axolotl. An axolotl, for those of you who aren’t up on your Minecraft animals and/or exotic amphibians, is a carnivorous salamander that lives under water, has frilly external gills, and looks like it’s always smiling. My ten-year-old is not getting an axolotl.
Ten wants an axolotl because he actually wants a dog – and if not a dog, a cat; and if not a cat, a guinea pig; and if not a guinea pig, a bunny; and if not a bunny, an axolotl. The thing is, Ten is allergic to pet dander. Really allergic. Think, “Oh, just take a Claritin and you’ll be fine sniff sniff,” and multiply that by an at-home nebulizer and a punch card’s-worth of asthma-related trips to the ER. If you’re up on your dogs, cats, guinea pigs, and bunnies, you’ll know that all of those have fur (and therefore dander)…meaning his chances of getting an axolotl are about 4,000-times more likely than one of those other animals, even if those chances are still zero.
His request for an axolotl also isn’t completely lost in the deep end of the pool because his dad and I have a habit of getting him guilt pets – and nothing makes us feel more guilty than having a kid with a health thing. Ten’s first pet, for example, was the by-product of his needing tubes in his ears. If you, an adult, got tubes in your ears it would be achieved in your doctor’s office with some numbing. When Ten got it done he was three years old, and three-year-olds need to be put under so they don’t wiggle their way into some extra head holes.
If you’ve ever been under anesthesia, you’ll know that you need to sign all sorts of waivers about the dangers of said anesthesia. As three-year-olds aren’t great at writing their names, it was up to me to fill out forms that read something like, “I understand that this surgery is completely elective and anything that happens as a result is because I suck at parenting.” Then my little buddy was wheeled back for tubing, gripping tight to his favorite hockey card, which he opted to bring with him instead of a stuffed animal. He waved that hockey card as he disappeared out of view.
Naturally, I burst into tears. Kyle got the lucky job of guiding his weeping wife out to the waiting room, where he deposited me in a chair just in time for the nurse to pop her head in and say, “All done!”
Those eight minutes (five minutes for forms + three for the rest) were so traumatizing to me that we left the hospital and went right to the pet store, where we got three guilt goldfish. We named the fish Randy, Ralphie, and Flick after the movie, A Christmas Story. Our son, who was completely unphased about his earlier surgery, was equally as disinterested in the fish by Day 2.
Ralphie and Flick made it four months (which is three months and thirty days longer than any other fish in Silverman fishstory). Randy, on the other hand, was a valued member of our family for seven years. He lived in Ten’s bedroom, first in a small bowl, then in a mid-sized tank, and then in an aquarium roughly the size of a bathtub. Despite the fact that Randy and Ten shared nearly equal square footage in that bedroom, they only interacted with each other once – when Randy decided to jump out of his tank, and Ten’s (who was four at the time) gut instinct was to cover him with a pillow. Everyone, including the pillow, made it through unscathed.
The rest of the time, Randy was Kyle’s fish. Kyle fed him, cleaned his giant tank, bought him toys, and acquired additional fish friends – all but one of whom met their watery graves at the fins of Randy, who turned out to be a bully. Kyle also had to find babysitters to care for Randy when we went out of town because fish are a lot of work – like, you know, axolotls.
As much as Ten has promised to take care of any new pets, salamander or otherwise, Kyle and I are unconvinced that we won’t be tweezer-feeding worms to Little Cutie the Axolotl (Ten’s choice for a name) long after the boys have left for college. We are also considering allergy shots for Ten, so as long as those work we should be able to make it through his adulthood without any guilt animals…but a guilt bike – I mean, the kid does have to get a series of shots – may be in his future.
The photo above is of Kyle with an artist’s representation of an axolotl.
This week’s news has a baby eating a pickle and a special birthday party. Read on.
(Also, today is my mom’s birthday. Happy birthday, Mom!)
West Fargo’s Ellis Bonn is now Internet Famous after trying her first pickle. (KVRR)
Or the 31st time, the Dickinson State University Agriculture Club spent a day showing pre-schoolers through third-graders all about ag. (Dickinson Press)
Bismarck’s Marcus Ell had a “one hundred” (on a scale from 1-10) birthday after his mom put out a request on Facebook. (KX Net)
Mersiha Arapovic is Mandan’s first female firefighter. (KFYR TV)
Let’s Be (Official) Pals!
Sign up for the weekly North Dakota Nice email and get a story and the news delivered to your inbox once a week (and never more than that).