The Arrival of Mr. Lickums

The night before Christmas

When last we left our heroes, they were two weeks before Christmas and their son had written a massively persuasive essay to the effect of he should get a frog. Much research was done. A terrarium was purchased and ready for Christmas morning. The amphibian excitement was running hot in the household. And lo! On Christmas morning there was the empty terrarium!

Our plan was this: we really want a vivarium. There are many reasons for this:

1) it requires massively less effort to keep clean, since nature does the cleanup work instead of you (a major consideration)
2) living things and plants, and the light required for them, are a boost to the mood and create an environment that is happier and healthier
3) less stank
4) they are extremely cool. Even the word vivarium is soooooo cooooool.

First we went to Jabberwock to buy one of everything. Just kidding! We bought two of several things. Our list included:

– Drainage
– Soil
– Dinosaur eggs
– Plants
– Moss
– Light bulbs
– Three kinds of bugs (springtails, white pill bugs and crickets)
– Cricket stuff (cage, water stuff, food stuff, nutrient powder)
– Stuff for water (dechlorination, that surgical scrub stuff)
…. and a bunch of other things.

Selecting his frog buddy

Oh, and a frog.

We came home and immediately got to work on three habitats: one for crickets, one for the baby frog right now (which will later be a nicer cricket habitat) and the Vivarium. It only took an hour or two to get the temporary habitat ready.

First meeting between a boy and his frog!

Six hours and 9 shopping stops later (ok, in fairness, only two of those stops were actually vivarium related, the others were in a vain attempt to find somewhere that still sold black tapes), the vivarium is up and running. The plants will need a few weeks to get rooted before they can handle the full weight of Mr. Lickums. But I’m already of the opinion it’s pretty awesome!

Adding the springtails
The vivarium in situ

Mr. Lickums the Third

On Friday at 9:30 in the morning I got an email with a slide deck attached. This much is not unusual. As far as I can tell, half my job involves getting emails with slide decks attached. (The other half, of course, is sending such emails.) But this one was different. This one came from my 11 year old son, who definitely should have been doing something else in school.

The deck was titled “Why I Should Get a Frog“. I have my suspicions we may have entered the “persuasive essay” portion of the curriculum. Which, props to his teacher. This thing is a masterwork.

With a brevity and clarity that my work presentations can only aspire to, slide #1 got right to the point with the “ask” of the presentation:

The Frog I Want (If I am allowed to get one) is the Whites tree frog, you can find plenty of them in pet stores all around, and I believe they have them in pet smart. They are easy to handle, cute and overall funny looking.

So far, so good. I appreciate the research here, including specifics about the breed & availability desired. He expands with the reasons for the particular selection. To note: on further research everything he says here is also actually true.

Slide two gets deep into a cost analysis of the acquisition:

The Terrarium:

https://www.amazon.com/Exo-Terra-Glass-Natural-Terrarium/dp/B0041P5PBE?ref_=fsclp_pl_dp_1

Although it is $200 I won’t ask for it for Christmas instead I will use my own Money

I am not sure yet if the terrarium is cat proof but if it is not we can always make something to keep the cats out. I believe it also fits on my desk, and is the biggest terrarium I could find.

Here we see advanced level skills. The kid has already learned something it’s taken me 20 years to figure out – if you promise to bring the budget, the project is 900x more likely to happen. Now you and I both know that a) it will cost way more than $200 b) he won’t end up paying for something he requests two weeks before Christmas. He may guess #2, but he’ll discover #1. He also does a fantastic job of objection handling. In this case, by making explicit reference to our biggest objection (frog = cat toy) and then just waving it away as inconsequential. Masterful.

But in slide three, he really closes the sale.

Grey was the one who got the cats, but I have never had a chance to have a pet of my own. It would help prove my responsibility and be adorable at the same time. The cats are very old, and not that playful. I have my own money to buy the terrarium and the frog. It is the derpiest thing I have ever seen. They are easy to take care of. Also, I LOVE FROGS. (It will be named Mr. Lickums The third).

Here we invoke the principle of fairness and the desire of parents to raise responsible children. We probably didn’t need to throw shade on our two lovely cats. But then, the close man. The close. How can anyone resist “Mr. Lickums The third”? It’s impossible.

In unrelated news, we learned that the local pet store focusing on things that people have phobias about is called Jabberwock Reptiles. They may be our new best friends. Time to go learn about keeping frogs alive. And crickets. And worms. Yikes!


GREY! Don’t tell your brother! Do you want some pet crickets for Christmas?

UPDATE: I have learned that the original Mr. Lickums was a clay art project. The second Mr. Lickums was an icebreakers can that was decorated to resemble a frog. You may now resume your important activities.