Frogs, Snakes, Turtles – Oh My!


“I think I know what I want to get your for your birthday.”

I glanced in the rearview mirror at Joseph. “What’s that?”

“A pet.”

“I don’t really need a pet.”

“You do. My friend has illegal dollar turtles. I want to get you one for your birthday.”

“You do realize that illegal means that it’s against the law to own them.”


“Your friend isn’t supposed to have those turtles.”


“I’m not sure, but just to be on the safe side, we’re not going to get illegal turtles.”

“How about a legal turtle? You’d love it! It could sleep in my room and hibernate under my bed.”

“I don’t think so.”

“How about a corn snake. It would be so silky and soft and we could hold it and feed it.”

“I’m not sure I’m cool with feeding a mouse to a snake.”

“We can buy them frozen.”

Instantly my mind conjured visions of frozen mice, their tails stiff mousicle sticks. I snorted in laughter. “Gross!”

“You’re really hard to buy presents for, Mama.”

“I’m just not fond about reptiles.”

Joseph was quiet for a moment, lost in thought. I started to turn up the radio when he asked, “What about frogs? They’re not amphibians and they’re so cute!”

And here I thought having a boy wouldn’t literally be frogs and snakes and turtles. I should have known better. What sort of pets do your kids want? Are they trying to justify them as a birthday gift for you?