Best way to roast the broomstick. Must try. Five Stars.

Slow and steady

Thursday afternoon when I picked Leta up from school she came running out of the building with a little more lilt than usual. She was bounding, swinging her arms, and her smile rivaled the perfect curve of a circle. She jumped up into my arms without warning almost sending me to the ground, and I suddenly thought, wow. That was a perfect reenactment of a Mormon discovering coffee.

“Mom!” she shouted after we hugged. “I want a turtle!”

“You want a turtle,” I said matter of factly, my brain hanging on the irony that she was showing such enthusiasm for the world’s most boring creature. Is that mean? Did I offend the turtle people? COME ON. There’s that whole story about the turtle “racing” the hare, barely crawling it’s way to the finish line, and every time I hear it I’m like, good god, could someone please give that thing a Red Bull.

I got a little carried away by her enthusiasm, I’ll admit, and I ended up telling her that we could go look at turtles over the weekend. Mind you, I know nothing about them, only that I’ve heard about a species who live on the Galapagos Islands and live to be over a hundred years old. Can you imagine how boring it must be to walk around that slowly for over a hundred years? They probably hang out in bars and wallow in jealousy over their friends who were lucky, the ones who caught a disease and died in their sixties.

I did a tiny bit of research before we set out to the pet store on Saturday, meaning I asked Tyrant if he knew anything about turtles. I could have googled “pet turtle” but, you know, I’m not really into believing everything I read on the Internet these days.

“Oh, yuck,” he said. “Those things start to stink, and they live forever. Way too much work. Let’s just get chickens.”

Right. Because the smell of a chicken coop has been known to make men swoon.

Leta and I drove out to a specialty shop on Saturday afternoon where we could look at lizards and snakes and have some one-on-one cuddle time with actual turtles.

An employee walked us back to a room where we got to observe two small Russian tortoises, and he explained in detail their everyday upkeep. We’d have to feed him fruits and vegetables, frequently change out his water because he’d likely use it as a potty, and then we’d have to pick out his poop from the shavings at the bottom of the glass aquarium. OH! And he’ll probably live to be anywhere from 20-25 years old.

Leta didn’t hear a word of this, she was too transfixed by the mechanical movements of the tortoises as they climbed up and over each other.


I blinked loudly. “20 TO 25 years, Leta. EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR 20 TO 25 YEARS. You’ll still be picking up its excrement IN COLLEGE.”

The employee sensed my skepticism and excused himself so that we could discuss this long-term commitment to another creature’s feces by ourselves.


“POOP, LETA. You have to pick up its poop with your hands.”

She frowned. “But I really want a turtle, Mom.”

I suddenly had an idea. “Let’s hold it for a second and see how friendly he is.” As I scooped one out of the wood shavings Leta took a giant step backward. “Here,” I said. “Hold out your hands.”

“No, that’s okay,” she said, her voice shaking.

“Leta, if you’re going to have a tortoise as a pet, you’re going to have to hold him at some point. That’s kind of the thing about pets.”

She stepped forward, closed her eyes as she cupped her hands, and the moment I set the tortoise into her palms she shrieked and dropped it right back in the aquarium. It landed with a thud, but thankfully it got right back up and crawled to a corner. And that was when I started to get attached DAMMIT. My heart belonged to that tortoise. Its itty bitty head. Those tiny arms and legs wiggling around like a baby. That wittle mouth eating the wittle carrots!

“That totally creeped me out, Mom. I don’t want a turtle.”



I could tell she was devastated, so I set my hand on her head and said, “How about we go look at some fish?”

Internet, meet Leta’s new betta fish:

She has to take care of him, but I’ve agreed to help her clean out his bowl the first few times until she gets the hang of it. On the drive home I asked her if she had any names in mind, and she shook her head several times. She was much more worried that I was going to hit a bump in the road and he’d go flying through the car, pop out of the container and suffocate to death. Oh, hello daughter of Heather B. Armstrong! My, don’t you resemble your mother!

Last night she still couldn’t think of a name, so I asked her if I could ask you guys for suggestions. She thought that was a great idea, but she wants everyone to know that she will NOT refer to her fish as Fishy. You know how Marlo refers to all her stuffed animals as Puppy? Yeah, she is SO not a two-year-old, and that is just the dumbest thing ever. The sound of her eye roll made the water in the bowl vibrate.

So, you guys know any good fish names?

  • sak9


  • Aprilisin

    I like Mr. Limpett from another poster…a must watch old movie if you haven’t seen it.

    We here like planet names…we have a Jupiter who has been with us for an astonishing 4.5 years with his quarters a mere large vase and living with a cat who gets his drinks from his pool.

    And, like, you’re dreaming if you think anyone other than you will be cleaning the fish bowl….just sayin’…

  • Annie007

    Here are several I thought of: Amigo, Aristotle, Elvis, Nemo, Pepper, Pisces, Sailor, Speedy, Zippy

  • thistlework

    Chris Martin

    Heather, (daughter of Avon World Sales Leader)the hard sell on this may be up to you, OK?

  • Lex Lemon

    Cowboy or Captain.

  • peachyok

    I think he looks like an Iris.

  • sabelman

    I used to have a beta named Moby, he lived forever!

  • Jet62879

    I would be happy to let her borrow my son’s name:



  • SPM

    I suggest Zoe. I named my very first pet, a black lab mix, Zoe. I had her for 16 years!! It is a good luck name for Leta ( Greek for “life” or something like that).

  • kelp30

    Ok. A professor of mine once talked about freedom like this: As long as that fish stays in water, it’s free…

    This got me thinking about jazz musicians… and the freedom they have within their art, so I’m offering a few names:

    Thelonius Monk
    Stan Getz
    Louie Prima
    or my favorite: Esperanza Spalding

  • bubbytoots

    My four year old suggested Goldie and my seven year old suggested Flipper! Congrats Leta! Have fun.

  • andermer

    I vote for Theodore. The fish just looks like a Theodore to me. Unless we are feeling feminine, in which case Theodora is quite nice too, I think! Good luck deciding! There are some very clever and funny names floating around here!

  • kelly benita


  • bemused1031

    “Your old, busted name was beta fish hamilton. We now dub yo ass:

    Old Slim Jimma

    Gangsta Name Generator…never fails!

  • dkh721

    I don’t care if it’s a girl or boy, that fish should be named Topaz. I don’t know why, but she reminds me a stripper and so should have a good stripper name! 🙂

  • LynnFlynn

    Since it’s a girl Betta it should have a girls name. I’m thinking since it’s a really lovely purple color maybe Violet or Lavender. However, I do think “Turtle” would be funny.

  • Amy J.


  • specialkrispy

    My friend had a Betta that she called Master (get it?).

    For a kid, though, I like the suggestion of Turtle

    or Michael Bolton or George Michael.

  • SSarah

    I think that’s a female because the fins aren’t as long and feathery, so my vote is for Constance, which also could have been a good turtle name.

  • Sonicwitch

    Arc-en-ciel ….French for rainbow.

  • PARoberts

    Galapagos should be his name.

  • lillybolt

    Princess FiFi Armstrong
    Betty the Beta.

    If Leta insists on a boy name:
    George Washington
    King Arthur

  • wackyswede


  • Jalima


    Yeah. I know. I got nothing.

    A word from the wise? Having killed numerous fish I have learned that when you clean the bowl do NOT USE SOAP of any kind. Water only. Trust me on this one.

  • kmpinkel

    After reading all of the other suggestions, well not ALL, I am thinking that a couple were pretty darn good.

    Alphie (Alphabetta-very clever)

    I do feel this is a female, however, and as much as I like Penelope, Rhoda or Ramona keep popping up.

    Maybe a favorite book character would do it for her…..

    i look forward to hearing her decision.

  • knolting

    Boris. He looks like a Boris.

  • Brooke1214

    My boys’ favorite names for pets are Pancake and Chicken. They are desperate for a new pet (or 2!!!!) so they can use the names. Leta is more than welcome to use them though. No one ever takes care of these darn animals except me after all and I am not caring for another critter!!!!!!

    Besides, I think Chicken is perfectly fitting for you guys!!!

    P.S. I hope you are doing well. <3

  • anadallip75

    We once had a fish named “Calico”.

  • Gaviota_mx

    Arquimedes! which is the Spanish spelling of Archimedes. My daughter had a beta fish with that name around the same age Leta is now.

    She loved him and took very good care of him, he died peacefully surrounded by those who loved him.

  • whiskeypete

    Love the suggestions of “Florence” and “Turtle” for sure…but that fish looks like a beautiful fire opal.

    So, I’d have to suggest “Opal”.

    Can’t wait to hear the chosen name!

  • Ironia

    My betas have been named…


  • RoxAndRoll


  • jamie

    We’ve had two betta fishies.


  • sarlynn77

    You should name it Partypants. Judging by the amount of self-esteem-boosting you get bullying on her behalf, I think it would be perfect to have a little fishbowl-sized reminder in your miserable every-day life.

  • twilightli

    My beta in college was named Seamus, the Beautiful Babely Wonderfish. It’s available, if Leta wants it.

  • pharmerjess

    How fun! I’ve had two betta fishes and they were named Gilligan and Skippy. My mom has a beta fish named Sushi.

  • DoubleDs

    How about Comet?

    Although I also love the idea of Turtle. You will let us know what the final pick is, right?

  • dawdawsmom

    gorton =o)

  • amie31

    how about Turtle?

  • snflwry

    I’m with literarygirl! You have to name him “Turtle!” 🙂

  • runhopskip

    My favorite fish name ever is Bruce. From the shark in Finding Nemo. Bruce. Perfection.

  • poopinginpeace

    My best friend and I lived together in college and we had a pet Beta fish that we called Fred or sometimes “Pred” when we were stoned. I’m pretty sure that fish was high for 90% of his life. But Fred is a good name. Or Pred.

  • austin922

    Shelly – the more subtle reference to the turtle inspiration. Or Skyler – no reason, I just like the name.

  • groan.yes


  • superkittn

    Herbert. Cause fish are so boring. And so is this name.

  • liv-p

    we bought my son (almost 5) two fish. he named them nicholas and nicholas. at first, i thought i should change the names; after all, it could get confusing. my son eventually started calling them nicky silver & nicky red. i throw nicholas, or nicky red, into the ring.

  • mcTMaster

    Okay I want to say sorry as I didn’t research my fish name well when I said, MISOGYNIST for a name. I was going on the urban dictionary meaning of it and it had to do with Barbie and Ken and how Ken would make Barbie pay for her fair share of the dinner because he was a MISOGYNIST. Wikiapedia’s meaning is different and not good for a child. (Although on a side note the urban dictionary had an advert for a T-Shirt that said “I pooped today” with a stick person with its hands in the air and I thought of u, Dooce).
    So, I think the fish should be called MISO. More child approved. And I’m sorry if any one got mad at me with my original name.

  • Suede

    Phoebe. Best name ever. Or, if you think it’s male… Truman.

  • Chuck

    Our Siamese fighter Betas are called Salmon and Guppie…

  • Ainslee921

    I’ve always been partial to Alice. In fact, I’m a huge fan of Alice.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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