Thursday, January 15, 2009

Commitment and Frogs

I told my kids we could get a couple of African Dwarf Frogs after I save up a little money. They are super cheap, I have a fish tank to keep them in (they are fully aquatic), and they don't eat live food. I read online that they are the perfect novice frog owner frog. It seemed as harmless as getting a goldfish.

The sad thing is, it wasn't my kids who asked. They still think it is weird that frogs would be indoors, instead of out (OMG how I love them!). I agree with them, and I am not sure I want to support the companies that breed frogs and ship them in highly stressful conditions so they can go and be unhealthy in a pet shop and maybe have a shot at life in a small tank in someone's home. Especially because even though they are "dirt cheap," we've got to stretch to come up with the money.

What was I thinking?

I'm not really sure. I think I felt badly that our Montessori classroom didn't have any animals or something. And hey, frogs are cool enough. How strange I am.

I hesitated for a while because it was a matter of commitment. Apparently, African Dwarf Frogs which are very small often die in the first month home. But if they happen to live, they can live anywhere from 4-15 years. You only have to feed them every 3 days or so, but you still can't go on vacation for a week without arranging for their care. Do I really want to have a couple of frogs that I have to move the next time we move, even though such a move will likely be many years away?! Do I really want to have to buy frozen bloodworms every month for a couple little frogs. I mean, don't get me wrong, I am excited about them too. They are apparently very active during their waking hours (when they aren't hiding, which they also apparently do a lot of) and a lot of fun to watch. I can see myself falling "in love." Not to mention that I love the sound of a flowing fishtank. But more than anything, I guess I'm really not looking forward to them dying. If they get sick, there aren't too many options in terms of vet care, if any at all here. I cried the two times our beta fish died in one of our classrooms here at church. And why did I invite death into my kids' lives like that, so unecessarily?

But still, we spent a good portion of this morning setting up the fish tank and getting the filter working, and the kids are eager now to actually have frogs in there, so I'm not going to back out. Yet even as I write this I think, "am I teaching the kids something wrong by having a 'domestic' frog when they belong in the wild, tiny and as easily domesticated as they may be?"

I'm sure it will be fine. The tank is pretty big when you consider how very tiny these frogs are (less than a pinky finger in length if I recall), we put some cool plants in there for them to play in, and we're getting at least two because the frogs are social creatures who like to play together at the bottom of the I think they'll be as happy as they can be. I am pretty sure I can manage cleaning the tank every now and then and feeding the frogs every few days...even if it gets old after the first couple of months.

The thing with me is that (perhaps because I am Gemini???), I have a really mixed relationship with commitment. On one hand, I want everything to stay the same all the time. I am the last to agree to rearrangement of furniture in my house, I love holiday traditions and will do anything to keep a beloved tradition going, and though I am an adventurer who likes to try new things, once I find something I love to eat at a restaurant, I am the person who always orders the same thing. On the other hand, the real reason I think I jump into many big commitments is because I know I'll get cold feet if I don't.

Even though G. and I had been together for four years or something by the time we got married, and even though I had long before decided I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her, I still can admit that I freaked out a bit before the wedding. During the planning (and of course, the planning was stressful, which was a big part of the whole thing), I nearly called it off er, a handful of times. G. knows this of course because she lived through it, poor thing. I am lucky she put up with me. I am completely indecisive about silly things like where to hang a picture on my wall and what color socks I want to wear or what I want to eat for dinner. If I get myself into trouble at work, it usually stems from being too wishy washy at some point in time, even though I tend to be opinionated and direct in my communication as a general rule.

Like I said, I am not simply allergic to commitment nor am I eager for commitment. It's as if I am both at the same time: eager and allergic.

And that's another one of my neurosis!

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