Ok, they didn’t really ruin my life, but they are so super weird. My child told me several months ago, “Mom, you must write an article about these weird sea monkies. Title it ‘Sea Monkeys Ruined My Life’ and people will read it.” I guess he was right, because look, you clicked. So while the title is an exaggeration, the rest of this is a totally true story.
Last Christmas, my neighbor gave my youngest son the gift that keeps on giving. Excitedly, the eight-year-old ripped open the wrapping paper and read the bold description Sea Monkeys on the front of the brightly-colored box, cartoon creatures frolicking around the words. Mystified, he set it aside and turned to his new toys. What are sea monkeys, I wondered? Must be one of those rubberized toys that expands in water, I concluded, and made a mental note to let him play with them in the bath.
Caution: do not let your child play with sea monkeys in the bath.
We all forgot about the sea monkeys until a few days later, when I awoke early one morning to an earth-shattering revelation: sea monkeys are not rubberized toys.
They are actually creatures.
So imagine an unsuspecting mother pads, half-asleep, into the kitchen for her usual and customary pot of coffee before shower, when she is greeted with, “Good morning, Mommy! Look at our pet sea monkeys in the window!” And there, above the kitchen sink, is a small plastic aquarium full of what appears to be dirty water. “See? Those are the eggs! They are going to hatch, and we will raise sea monkeys right here in the kitchen!” Peering closer, I can see small black dots floating in the water. Gross.
I poured my first mug of joe and collapsed into a kitchen chair. “Is this some kind of joke?”
My preteen assured me it was not. “These are real animals, Mom. Look, the directions say they will hatch soon, then they’ll reproduce rapidly!”
Reproduce rapidly is not a welcome phrase to experienced boy-moms. Gulping down a few swallows of caffeine, I skim the directions. The vague description helped little. It was time for some serious research. “Ok, Google, what are sea monkeys?”
If you want to induce nausea, bring on nightmares, or find a new topic for a horror movie, read the questions and answers on seamonkeyworship.com. Taking turns reading aloud, my children and I vacillated between amusement and revulsion as the sordid tale unfolded.
Sea Monkeys are a genetically-engineered shrimp hybrid that never appears in the wild. They have been bred just for commercial purposes (and those commercial purposes are just as ridiculous as the creatures themselves, including sea monkey board games and sea monkey mazes). Sea Monkeys’ one claim to fame is that they’ve been to space, but I can’t tell that they’ve done anything noteworthy since (get a life, Sea Monkeys). They do have one main goal in life: to “do it.” They “do it” for days on end (their stamina is unreal), in full view of God and everybody. So my kitchen window sill became an X-rated “adult sea creatures only” place-of-ill-repute for getting business done all day and all night.
Just what you want to look at in the wee hours of the morning before you grasp your first mug of coffee. Heaven help me.
But that’s not the funny part. The truly wonderful part of this story is that my youngest son, the proud owner of these immodest animals, is the most prudish member of the family. He can’t handle any discussion of biology, he refuses to look at diagrams of stamens and pistils, and he’ll run from the room if you simply look deep into his eyes, raise an eyebrow, and murmur, “re-pro-duction.” Yet in the background, someone practices the piano.
You must remember this:
a kiss is still a kiss . . .
“Why Sea Monkeys?” I’ve asked myself numerous times. In all the kitchen joints in all the towns in all the world, why did they walk into mine? I glance across the kitchen to where my beloved coffee pot and mugs sit, inches from the disgusting animals. I stick my hand out for nobody.
Somewhere, deep within myself, I found the courage that day to simply ignore it all, to leave the science-experiment-from-purgatory right there and walk away. I’m saying it because it’s true. Inside of us, we all know they belong with the boy. They are part of his work, the thing that keeps him going. If those sea monkeys left and he was not with them, I’d regret it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of my life.
We’ll always have the kitchen sill.
With a heavy heart, I shuffled away, into the foggy, rainy January morning. I’ve got a job to do. I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of miriads of little disgusting creatures don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday we’ll understand that. Now, now. Here’s looking at you, kid.
I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Postscript: I regret to inform you that those beloved Sea Monkeys, who did indeed “reproduce rapidly,” took that magic jet plane to heaven two weeks ago.
There are no Sea Monkeys in Rocking Ordinary.
There are humorous stories about motherhood, true confessions of failures, and a generous supply of coffee. You can find out more about my new book here.
Rocking Ordinary not only addresses insecurities I feel as “just a regular” woman, but also challenges me to reach out of my comfort zone to others. Lea Ann Garfias speaks value into what I often view as mundane and helps me see the influence I have in my everyday circles. This volume is an outstanding addition to personal or women’s group studies.
an ordinary wife, adoption advocate, and homeschool mom