Upon moving into our newest domicile, we purchased a quarter-sized turtle for my 9-year old son. Why this was such a necessity, I still can’t quite explain but Kevin and I gave in to his wishes and we’ve ended up with a small turtle that the entire family has fallen in love with.
The Care and Feeding of the Turtle
The turtle resides in Luke’s room, but I feed and care for it. Caring for a very small turtle doesn’t require much. I make sure his tank is warm, his lights are on during the day and that he’s fed both in the morning (breakfast) and in the evening (dinner!!! Was told to only feed him once in the morning but I break it up because otherwise what does he have to live for all day long?).
The first week or so with the turtle was touch and go. We’d tried being the guardians of a tank of fish in the past and every last one of them died within a week :(. With that track record (which wasn’t terrible, but also not exactly something to be proud of), I wasn’t feeling too confident in our guardianship of this small amphibian. We were very worried this guy was going to die just like the fish did. In fact, I sadly would have bet you he would perish within a week. Such was my confidence in caring for a watery creature.
Oh, No! He’s Gone!
So, on the night, about a week into this thing, that Luke came to me quietly and with tears in his eyes and guided me by hand to his bedroom to look in on his turtle my heart sank. Ugh. “Mama, look in there,” he said quietly, “He’s just floating…”
I looked. I saw. He was floating in the back of the tank, his tail, his flipper feet and arms – everything about him looked lifeless.
I was sure he was gone. So, I said, “Ohhhh, Luke, I’m sorry…”
I then went to the living room to tell Kevin, ‘Hon,” and I mouthed “I think the turtle is dead.” Kevin’s jaw fell open. Maddie began screaming, her face red, “No, no, no,” and Luke threw himself to the floor in a heap, head down rocking back and forth. As much as one can feel devastation over losing a quarter-sized turtle that they’ve only had for a few days, that was what I felt – defeated, devastated and just plain old pissed at what crappy caregivers we obviously were. The kids were losing their sh** and I briefly wondered what the hell we were in for if one of our long-time pets (our 8-year-old dog Belle or 2-year-old lab Bailey or our cat?) died. Yikes!
Our hero, my husband, yelled through the halls, “He’s not dead!”He beckoned the kids into Luke’s bedroom to see our turtle pedaling around through the watery depths again.
The turtle was not dead. I was wrong. He’d only been sleeping, that’s how they sleep, they just float there like they’re dead. Good to know going forward.
And what did we name our turtle? Luke named him French Toast. He had briefly toyed with other names including Watermelon and Waffles. (I don’t get what’s with the food names at all.) Over the course of a few days, I started to call him Yertle because, you know, I’m a bookish kinda gal. Until I learned that Dr. Seuss had used Yertle the Turtle as a representation of Hitler. Oh, okay, back to French Toast.
It’s been a couple of months now, and that little turtle lights me up every time I see him. He’s sturdy, he’s sweet, he appears healthy. He’s easy to manage and nice to have around.