July 6, 2009

Frog Prizes

I have a question-- Why is it legal to stuff living creatures into plastic bags on a roasting hot day then hand them out to small children? July 4th might as well double as National Cruelty to Animals Day. This level of cruelty doesn't seem to happen on any other holiday. Can you imagine bagged kittens left on porches for Christmas morning, or boxed puppies handed out on Halloween?

Usually the animal is a fish. This year it was frogs. At least this year they came with instructions. And I was happy to find that at least one kid--my niece--not only read them, but actually followed them too.

I was making lunch on the Fourth of July when she burst into my house in a panic saying, "Jenny, you have to save our frogs!!! They're going to die!!"

I assured her the best I could by saying, "I'm afraid that fate was decided for them when they were purchased for game prizes."

Undeterred she said, "But you have to help us! The water can't have chlorine in it or it will eat the frog's skin. We need to use some of your stored well water."

With my fingers covered in fruit juice, I took the plastic bag and set it on the counter, not realizing it was open. It immediately tipped and spilled water all over the floor, while the frogs were jumping wildly around between layers of plastic. Luckily, my sister-in-law arrived at this time and I turned the amphibious heroics over to her.

Besides the fact that the frog's life expectancy decreases tremendously by becoming a prize, the other problem is that suddenly the family has an unplanned pet. After personally resuscitating our pet cat from near death and syringe-feeding it for over a week while my cat allergies went crazy--and the kids looked on--I have forbidden future pet ownership.

But, without my knowledge, Megan had won a frog which she planned to share with a cousin. When I found out she was planning to take a turn bringing the frog home, I reminded her that she forgot to ask.

Megan: "Okay, fine. Can I have a frog?"

I decided to employ the "absolutely, but first" plan which works well in these situations. I mostly use it when the kids ask if they can play games on the computer. I'll say, "Absolutely!! But first you have to practice the piano, take a shower, cut your fingernails, get your room inspection-ready, and catch up on all your homework and thank you letters."

In reference to the frog I said, "Absolutely!! But first, you need to write an essay about the type of frog you won. Then you need to write an informational pamphlet detailing care instructions like where to buy the food--including a comparison price chart from the different pet stores."

Rex: "Yeah, and make sure you include the proper etiquette to be followed at a frog birthday party."

Me: "Right. Very important. And, finally, you'll need to earn the money yourself to buy all the food and any other necessary commodities."

Megan: "Well, the frog needs..."

Me: "Oh, no. This is not an oral report; it must be typed out."

Megan: "So are you saying I can't have the frog?"

Me: "No. I'm saying you can. Absolutely!!"


  1. That is a fantastic method! I'm going to start using that.

    As for the frogs...I just feel bad for them.

  2. Poor frog. Poor Megan. Poor parents. We aren't pet lovers either. And I do think that makes us bad people. I do. (Except that we're sparing those potential pets the fate of being cared for (?) by us.)

  3. I'm thinking that I might hand out cockroaches on Halloween. That would be way cool!!!

  4. So far the frogs have prompted near despair by 1: not eating 2:shedding their skin (a sure sign the chlorine nearly killed them until we realized only one of them was shedding and learned that they do that regularly, and 3: coming to the top for air. ("I thought it was floating belly up until I saw that it wasn't!!")
    We are not pet people just like we are not sports people. I only let her do it so she could spend her own money learning valuable life lessons. Like how to plan a funeral.

  5. So what did she do with the frog? I've gotta try that absolutely method.

  6. That would never fly in Texas....the water would be dried up before they could even get the things home. I have a dog and a cat. Too bad for them that I am not a pet person. Love the "Absolutely"s. :)

  7. I do I hope I am invited to the frog birthday party, it's gotta be a huge celebration, I hope it lives that long! We now have a frog of our own which was won by a cousin, sadly yet fortunately our pet fish died a few days earlier leaving an empty tank. Now we are leaving town for a couple weeks, anyone want a frog?

  8. Missy--Megan's cousin is taking the first turn, so we have time to negotiate.

  9. that is some funny stuff. i bet it's fun to pretend you are nice mom ... for just a baby second until you dash all their hopes and destroy their dreams. you know - important dreams like owning frogs and such.

  10. I love you absolutely plan. Not sure how my son would deal, he would just pretend not to hear the other stuff, just the absolutely part :)