Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fish, Computer Issues and Body Part Functions

Well, it's been a while since my last blog posting. It's been a very busy few weeks in our house.

We took RP to the pet store and bought him a 15 gallon aquarium with his Yule money from Grampa and Grammy. We then proceeded to start trying to stock the aquarium with fish and decorations. The decorating process went well with blue, green and white gravel, a tiki, the Crusty Crab, a GIANT Gary, a purple dragon, shark jaws, four plastic plants, quartz from our yard (it had been washed a long time ago), a clear quartz point and REAL jewels for the dragon's treasure. Then we got the fish - which is where the problems started.

We bought two neon-colored "glow" danios ... one red and one green, two swordtails, two glowstick tetras and an albino pleco. Things were fine at first, the fish settled in and were happy. But on the fourth day, RP wanted to feed the fish and all hell broke loose.

He has a bad habit of twisting the tops on bottles and jars while he is talking or otherwise engaged. He came to me in the kitchen with the jar of fish flakes and asked to feed the fish. I said sure (since we had shown him how much to use and he'd done it before) and went back to what I was doing. Then I hear him tell me that he put in "a little bit too much" ... I turn around to find the top of the fish food INSIDE the aquarium on the bottom and the entire container of food in the aquarium. Within a few minutes, the water was turning cloudy. I scooped out as much of the food as I could and we went to the pet store to get a net (since they were out of the smaller sized nets when we got the fish) and a gravel vacuum. While we were in town, Patrick called and asked if there were supposed to be fish in the tank and shouldn't he be able to see them? RP and I got the vacuum, the net, some chemicals to clear up the water and some more fish - two more neon danios (purple and blue), two fantail mollies and two more tetras.

We got home from the store to find that the water was so cloudy you could not see into the tank. This began the madcap process of trying to vacuum the gravel, change the water and try to keep fish alive. I spent hours over the next several days trying to clear out the tank and save the fish. But ammonia got most of them and we were left with only the purple and blue danios and one fantail molly. I did eventually manage to get the water clear and we let the fish rest for a couple of days before RP and I went out to get more fish for the aquarium - a replacement pleco, replacement green and red danios, new swordtails, one replacement fantail and eventually a spotted cory cat and a platy. Our blue fantail from the second purchase didn't make it, but I had figured it was on it's last legs since it wasn't eating.

While all this fishy business was going on, my computer developed a problem. It would turn on and we could hear it boot, but we couldn't see anything on the monitor. So for a week I was without a computer (thank goodness for tablets and smart phones which allowed me to at least keep in touch with people). We did eventually send it out to a repair person and we found out that for once the computer wasn't the issue .... it was the monitor that had died. So we purchased a new monitor (bigger and better than the old one) and I was finally able to get back online.

Now for the funny part of this blog post. RP asked if he could go to Grandma's house this morning. I dialed the number for him and he asked if he could come down to play. Grandma said that she was on her way out the door to the post office but he could come down when she got back. RP told me (and Grandma) that he was "disappointed" but at least he didn't have a temper tantrum over it. I told her I would get him dressed while she was out.

I helped RP pick out some clothes and was adjusting the waistband and length of some new jeans. While I was working on his new jeans, he sat on his bed nekkid from the waist down mashing his penis between his fingers. He informed me "Mommy, my penis is squishy between my fingers." Then he started on the testicles, checking to make sure that they were still there and they still numbered two. Now came the BIG question every mother dreads ....

"Mommy, what are testicles for?"

I was flabbergasted at this question and it made me pause. I just was not expecting to have to answer something like that now. Since Patrick and I have decided that we want him to know the correct terms for his body parts and we're not going to lie about their functions I decided that I had to tell him the truth. Besides, I couldn't think of a convincing LIE to get me out of the awkward situation. So I told him that testicles make sperm and that sperm combine with an egg from a girl or woman to start a baby. I didn't get into any more detail than that ...

Now, some people might have a problem with a few things ... a) we have no problem with him running around the house - inside - without clothing (as long as we don't have company), b) we regard exploration of his body as a natural thing and only request that he only does it at home and nowhere else, c) we give him the correct terms for his body parts (and sometimes Mommy's body parts since he has been known to shower with us), d) we feel that to lie about any body function is more harmful than giving him age-appropriate explanations about what the body parts do, e) we don't require him to wear shoes most of the time and f) we in general want him to regard his body as normal, healthy and never as something to be ashamed of or feel "dirty" about. Maybe part of it is my mother's quasi-hippie leanings when I was growing up and never being told that sex or anything to do with the body was dirty. Maybe it's just that I've seen too many people with inappropriate hang-ups about their body. Maybe part of it is just my spirituality. I just never understood why some people decide to make their children feel bad about their bodies and normal, healthy exploration or lie about things like where babies come from like it's something nasty.

In any event, the cat is out of the bag as to how babies are made (sort of). I guess I knew in the back of my mind that around the age of 6 most kids start getting curious about how babies are made and the functions of body parts. But it still surprised me.

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