When she wants something, my twelve-year-old can be very persuasive.
This year she's set her heart on getting a fish. I was not so crazy about the idea for a couple of reasons. We tried fish when she was younger, and she got bored with them pretty fast. I think we have enough pets (three cats, a dog and all the snakes, birds, squirrels, spiders and strays that have now figured out that our yard is the safest place for them in the neighborhood.) And while my daughter loves animals and wants her own "personal" pets, she often forgets to regularly feed and care for them, so they all eventually end up becoming my pets.
So when my daughter brought up the subject of getting a fish this year, I instantly vetoed the idea. I discussed my reasons with her, and I thought she'd accepted it, but a week later this is what she wrote at the bottom of her Christmas wish list:
My Fish Pledge:
YOU BETTER NOT LAUGH.
I promise to forever care and accommodate any fish that I am to get. I promise to buy the supplies like fish food and any accessories I want to buy for my fish with my own money. I also promise to feed it every day and if the tank needs cleaning, I will clean it. The only thing I ask of you to do is to buy the fish(es), tank, water, tank gravel, 1 bottle of fish food, a guide on how to take care of fish, and the usual water treatment stuff to purify the water or whatever it does and the normal care things for the fish that I need like a filter. I also need you to take me to the pet store AT LEAST once a month to buy supplies. If I do get a fish, I promise that I will try to make it stay alive for the usual age that the species lives in captivity, and I promise to make that fish have the best life in the world. I promise to always feed it, and if I forget to, you don’t have to feed it. And if it dies, it’s MY responsibility and fault.
The only time I will ask you to feed it is if I go on a trip and I will not be there to feed it. But the only thing I expect out of you is that it will be MY fish, and I get to pick out the food I want, the fish I want, the tank I want (if I’m getting another one), and the accessories I want; none of this “This one is cheaper though!” crap.* I AM PAYING FOR THE STUFF. (Except for the stuff in the beginning that I mentioned) That fish will have the greatest life in the world. I promise to always take care of it, if you buy it for me. I will do WHATEVER you want for 1 month and I will promise not to go into babysitting until I become a mother’s helper, clean my room and keep it clean forever or the fish gets taken away, and I will not get anything else for Christmas. (Except for the fish and I realllllllllyyyyyy want the phoenix puppet for my b-day)
Note: It took me like 3 hours to write that… please don’t say no… :’(
Note2: I really am begging now, please…
Note3: If you still think no, then please consider the following if you did not read it:
“I promise to buy the supplies like fish food and any accessories I want to buy for my fish with my own money. But the only thing I expect out of you is that it will be MY fish, and I get to pick out the food I want, the fish I want, the tank I want (if I’m getting another one), and the accessories I want; none of this “This one is cheaper though!” crap. I AM PAYING FOR THE STUFF. (Except for the stuff in the beginning that I mentioned)” “I will also do WHATEVER you want for 1 month and I will promise not to go into babysitting until I become a mother’s helper, clean my room and keep it clean forever or the fish gets taken away, and I promist to be a great child.
(I hope that you will reconsider now if you still think no…)
Note4: I have already researched some fish at www.fishlore.com
This is the list of things I want for Christmas for my fish and the basic stuff you need to run a fish tank with:
The Type of fish I want:
1 betta (female and I want to pick it out)
The equipment I need for my fish and want for Christmas:
1 2-5 Gal. Aquarium
1 pack of Blue Gravel ( I like blue J but any color will do.)
A Sponge Filter
1 Aquarium Light and top
Some Test kits (pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate) (nitrite and nitrate are not the same, look at the spelling!!!)
Food, Nets, Scrapers and other equipment (like water conditioners)
(I specifically need beta food)
and also at least 1 plant and 1 rock.
Please, please, think about this, I really am serious this time, I promise to god that I will take care of these fish, and they will have the best life in the world. I’ve been thinking about getting fish for a long time, since at least a month after my hamster** died. I know now the responsibility of taking care of pets and I promise that these fish will not die because of my laziness, but instead of old age or disease from unknown or known (but not from me) sources. I promise that if I do not treat these fish nicely and take care of them for as long as they live, or if I get board with them, then I know that you will take them from me and give them back to the pet store.
If I am not clear enough yet, please consider that I have done much research about fish and I understand how much responsibility goes into taking care of just one fish and that it requires lots of work, and I am eagerly willing to do that work this time for I now believe that I am mature enough to try once more and start over the way I started, by fish. If I become lazy about these fish, I know that you will never, ever, EVER, let me have pets again, but this time, I’m serious, and I know that I will take care of these fish. So please, please reconsider if you still think no.
The kid knows how to make an argument, and no, I don't have a heart of stone, so I am reconsidering. After all that, how could I not? And I wonder if I can get her to write a New Heated Swimming Pool Pledge for me to add onto the bottom of my Christmas wish list. . .
*I like how I'm portrayed as a cheapskate here, all because I won't let her buy whatever she sees at the pet store without first making some price comparisons.
** Sweetie Pie passed away peacefully in his sleep of old age after two years of being my hamster.