A Seven Year Old Speaks on Custody
The thing I wanted most was to bring lives into this world and watch them grow. I couldn’t wait to teach my own little monkeys and someday see them double in size. Everything I had read told me that as long as I gave them a little attention, it would be easy.
Easy??? What a bunch of baloney! Raising Sea Monkeys was the hardest thing I’d ever done.
Yes, I was only seven. Yes, they only had to be fed once a week. According to the instruction manual, it should’ve been a piece of cake to keep them alive for more than fourteen days or so. It may not have been so hard except for one thing:
I had to share custody of them with my younger brother.
Do you think there was anything in the instruction manual about that? I don’t think so.
It’s hard to explain exactly how they died because so much happened in that two week period. Thinking back, I now see how we could have done better as a “team”. The following mistakes contributed to their “unhappiness”, leading to…well…their death:
1. I wanted to keep the Sea Monkeys in indirect sunlight just like the instructions said. He had the nerve to relocate them to direct light without even consulting me. When I discovered this, I snatched them right back. This tug-of-war was constantly happening the entire time we had them.
The unending arguing and back-and-forth caused unnecessary stress for our little darlings.
2. Although there wasn’t a name for it back then, I was a little OCD even at seven. Between me and Greg, I had the neater handwriting, a tidier bedroom AND I wanted to keep a cleaner Sea Monkey tank.
I just didn’t get how our Sea Monkeys wouldn’t be better off without that smelly, disgusting-looking green stuff floating all around them. One day, without my brother’s consent, I carefully placed our Sea Monkeys into a temporary “home” and rinsed theirs with Palmolive. Without his knowledge, I stealthily poured them back into their sparkling, fresh-smelling Sea Monkey castle.
I later learned Sea Monkeys need oxygen to survive. As a matter of fact, the “green stuff” was actually algae, their oxygen source. Oops.
It would have served our babies well had I gotten an “expert” opinion before taking unilateral action regarding their living conditions.
2. Finally, we couldn’t agree on who got to feed them. Nor when they should be fed. Nor how muchthey should be fed.
One day, this resulted in us wrestling over the food and spilling all of it. Doh! Because we weren’t due our allowance for another month, there was no way for us to feed their hungry little mouths.
Not long after, they were gone. It’s hard to say if it was the sun, the sloshing, the dish soap or the lack of food source. One thing’s for sure, though:
Our unwillingness to think about the future well-being of our little ones created a situation where we were altogether unable to support their needs.
You know as well as anyone that raising kids is a heck of a lot harder than raising Sea Monkeys. Not only that, but the stakes are higher. Their physical and emotional lives could be at risk depending on how you and your ex-partner work as a team.
Luckily for all of us though, even before the age of seven, we started learning how to share andtreat others. Even though effective co-parenting mostly involves common sense possessed by most kids that are grade school age, we want break it down. Check out this week’s Hernandez Family Law Blog on The Top 5 Ways to Screw Up Your Custody Case.
Do you have ideas on how you can work with your ex (even if he or she isn’t using common sense) so your kids can flourish and thrive for decades to come? If so, leave us a comment here.
If you truly want to make your kids a priority, rise above the past. Use your seven year-old sense. Remember the Sea Monkeys.
Sending you wishes for a week that goes swimmingly!
All my best,