Nonphenomenal Lineage

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Children for You, Just Add Water

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I’ve never given birth to a child, or even been in the room when one is being born (well, except myself, I suppose), so what I’ve learned about the whole labor-birth process, I’ve learned from TV. There seems to be much pain, doctors walking to and fro, some worried people, some sweating and blood. I’d imagine also, there are hot smells and strange liquids. I hear it’s a miracle.

For me, however, the miracle of birth takes on a different form. My experience of excitement, anticipation, amazement and joy (with no pain or expensive medical bills, I might add) came from a simple purchase of just six dollars and ninety nine cents at Toys-R-Us. Yes folks, I’m talking about the Amazing Live Sea-Monkeys. Although it’s been about three years now since I’ve had Sea-Monkeys, I still recall the delight and excitement of seeing my first monkey.

First of all, the little plastic aquarium that came with the Sea Monkey set looked like an alien planet, like Mars if it was underwater. It had a reddish-brown plastic floor with little plastic alien sea-weedish plants on the ground. It was complete with a little space ship inside, plastic-molded to the bottom of the multi-level terrain. The Amazing Live Sea-Monkey set also comes in themes of a Princess Castle in pink and blue for girls, and a plain tank for those who have better imaginations than I.

With much seriousness, allow me to explain that Sea Monkeys are amazing on so many levels. First of all, the Monkeys are hatched out of eggs, which are created in a Lab probbaly somewhere in Switzerland. Then, a Scientist, wearing a white suit in a clean room, carefully drys out the eggs and sends them off to the Sea Monkey factory. There, millions of eggs are divided into small portions of about 50 eggs or so, and inserted into little packages about the size of a single serving sugar packet. This is packet #2.

Next, workers in the factory take a magic substance that is the life giving force to Sea-Monkeys, when combined with ordinary tap water, of course, and place it in yet another sugar packet, labeled #1. Then, another team of Lab Scientists create a powderish substance that is the food for the Sea-Monkeys. Who knows what’s in it, but it’s green and smells a little like dried sea weed. This nutritious Sea-Monkey banquet–enough food to last your monkeys about a year–is then stuffed into magic packet #3. Then, the little cryogenically latent eggs are packaged with a tiny food serving spoon, in with the aquarium and shipped of to Toy Retailers world-wide.

If you’ve never had Sea-Monkeys, and are not sure if you would like them, please consider this, the advert above claimes that they are so eager to please, that you can even train them. If you had any prior doubts about Sea-Monkeys, please consider the armada of tiny soldiers you will have at your command, once they are hatched and trained. This alone is worth the $6.99.

Once you’ve gone to Toys-R-Us, stood in line with a bunch of little snotty kids begging for M&M’s, and then and brought the The Amazing Live Sea-Monkey set back to your house, this is what you do:

1 Fill the aquarium with tap water, pour magic packet #1 in, and then wait a while

2 After some time (maybe a day?) Then you can pour magic packet #2 into the tank.

3 Wait a few very long and edgy days. Smoke a few packs of cigarettes in nervous anticipation.

4 Set your tank under a lamp or bright light, and sit down in front of the tank. Be prepared to sit a while, but if you are patient, you will see your first sign of life. It will be a newly-hatched Sea-Monkey. At first, it will look like a small fleck of flotsam jetsam floating around in the tank, but if you watch carefully, it will twitch a little and seem to flutter around.

Folks, for me, there was no prouder moment.


In a few days, they’ll turn into adult Sea-Monkeys. As Danny once told me, “They look like little angels.” This one is particularly cute. It’s all eyes and spinal cord and fur. Or whatever that stuff is. They do kind of look like tiny water angels, or perhaps a little bird like, gliding gracefully through the water, swimming around the little space ship and in an out of tiny caverns on the plastic Mars floor.

Anyway, they certainly look nothing like cartoons on the package. But then again, if you look at them really closely, you’ll realized you’ve been duped. No, NO! They’re not monkeys at ALL! Their more like feathery shrimp:


Up close, they look a little like dragonflies with hairy sides. Not something to entice a child. That’s probably why they look like pink fish monkey aliens on the pakcage. WAY cooler to think you have a tiny race of sentient aliens roving around on your bedroom windowsill.

BTW: I think they need light.

And not just one will grow. Bunches will. Soon you’ll have 15 or so of the little things swimming around. You can watch them chase each other, and eat their little green powder and sometimes you’ll even see one poop.

Their life span is like one month. It’s kinda hard to tell them apart. So it’s difficult to keep track of them once you name them. So when they die, you don’t know if it was Lefty or Blinky or Pink One.

But, the little guys know how to do *it*, so if you are lucky you’ll be able to watch the conception of a whole new little set of Sea-Monkeys. It’s a Sea-Monkey Peep Show. And they don’t even try to be modest and hide in the cavern.

Within weeks, you’ll see baby monkeys again.

A couple of notes: Once you put the water into the tank and treat it with magical packet #1, you’re not supposed to empty it. So, after a few months, a horrible mixture of poop and Sea-Monkey corpses begins to build up on the bottom of the tank in a gray layer. It will disturb you, but there’s really no easy way to clean it without freaking them out, or, even worse, killing them. I tried.

If all of your Monkeys die and you think you should dump the poopy-corpsy water out in the toilet, don’t. If you wait a few days, more often than not, a baby will appear out of nowhere, and then others. And then, before you know it, you’ll have a whole little thriving second generation.

If you have another little aquarium with tiny egg-hatched sea creatures in it, like the AquaSaurs, don’t mix your Sea-Monkeys in with them. You may wish them all to live in harmony, but the truth is, the AquaSaurs like Sea-Monkeys for breakfast.

I never did figure out how to train them. If you know how please tell me your secret.


All in all, having Sea-Monkeys was a great experience. I loved seeing them live in my room, knowing that the only world they would ever know was a watery Martian landscape. Sometimes I wish I could have had a little submarine that was and traveled around in their little world. They were my little space creatures, brought to life by adding water to mystical, life-giving packet #1. They lived all dried and latent in a sugar packet in a lab in Switzerland and then a Toys-R-Us before they came to life on Mars in my bedroom. How quizzical is that?

Currently listening to The Iformation, by Beck


Written by pocheco

February 7, 2007 at 8:13 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. To make the hatch faster use that light when you dump in the #1 pack. No harm in putting in #1 and #2 together… has special food for the ‘sea pets’ and something called Mellow Yellow, that slowly turns the water a beautiful yellow.. and smells good also. For real kicks try THE SWARM and create a massive flood of life!


    February 9, 2007 at 12:45 am

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