Sunday, November 22, 2009

Introducing ...

One Saturday afternoon, we were out and about running our usual weekend errands. We ventured into one of the little man's favorite stores - Petsmart - for a quick trip to grab some food for our dog, Casper.

But there is no such thing as a "quick" trip into Petsmart with the little man in tow.

I had anticipated this, so while the husband broke off to find the dog food, the little man and I made the usual rounds of the store - starting with the reptiles, then on to the birds, then the hamsters and finally the wall of fish.

As we were looking at all of the brightly colored fish swimming about, something caught the little man's eye.

{Of course it didn't help that the tank was right at the little man's eye level.}

It was a tank of little red crabs. The little man's eyes lit up as he watched the little crabs meander about the tank.

"Look mommy!" he said. "They have snappy claws!"

The little man sat and watched the little crabs, giggling at their ever move. I glanced down at the bottom of the tank and saw that the little creatures also had a very small price tag.

Later that night at dinner, the little crabs were all that the little man could talk about. Since we already had Nemo and Dory, an idea came to mind.

And then I made the little man a deal.

"Hey, buddy," I said leaning across the table to him. "I'll make you a deal - if you practice spelling your name really, really hard and can spell your name without any help from mommy, then I'll buy you a crab."

The little man's eyes widened. His little mind immediately raced with all the letters of the alphabet. He knew how his name started, but was still a bit shy about spelling the entire name on command.

The next few days were spent going over and over the spelling of his name. It was a mere week later that he was spouting it out all on his own, any time someone asked him to do it.

It was time for mommy to pay up.

We loaded in the car and headed back to the pet store. The little man was bursting with excitement.

He even had his crab named ... Gigi.

He ran into the store. "Gigi, I'm comin'!" he squealed as he burst through the doors.

He immediately ran to the tank with the crabs. Finally, a man came and asked us if we needed help.

"Yes, we need a red crab," my husband said.

"OK, and you have a tank set up?" the man asked.

"Yes," we replied in unison.

"And it's one it can't crawl out of?" said the man.

"Yes," we again replied in unison.

"Great, and it has a place to crawl out of the water?" the man asked.

We stood in silence. The man could probably tell by the look on our faces that the answer was no.

"These little crabs can't stay submerged in the water, they need to be able to crawl out of it every once in a while," he said.

My husband and I looked at each other. Below us, just at our feet, was our son pointing out the very crab he wanted.

"Mommy's fired," my husband finally murmured.

We had anticipated putting the crab in our fish tank. We had not anticipated a whole other aquarium.

But we had already promised the little man.

We tried in vain to convince the little man that a snail or aquatic frog (both who could live harmoniously with our fish) were much more fun that Gigi the crab. But it was futile.

"No! They don't have snappy claws," the little man said with tears in his eyes, making little snappy crab claws out of his hands.

We were stuck. And neither of us had the heart to go back on our word to the little man.

So, we drew in a deep breath and called the pet store worker over once more.

"Yes, we need one of those red crabs."

{Fortunately, crab habitats also come with little price tags - my only saving grace from the wrath of the husband.}

And with that, the newest member of our family ventured home with us.

Gigi the Crab.

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