"It's MY turn! You've been playing for an hour!"
"It's HIS night to do dishes, not mine!"
"You like him best!"
My NeoPets were always arguing. I have a mutant Grundo named AilioXer, a silver
Shoyru named Currius, and a yellow Jubjub named Cequerra. They always had something
to fight about, whether it was chores, video games, or favouritism they were
fighting over, they were constantly yelling at each other and I had to break
up numerous fistfights every day. It was driving me crazy!
Finally I decided what to do. I sat them all down and asked why they always
fought. After a long silence, I asked again. "Why are you guys always fighting
with each other?" And then they all began to talk at once.
"He always steals my stuff!"
"He blames everything on me!"
"He takes my snacks!"
"Yeah, well he always hogs the NeoQuest game!"
"Well, he messes up my room all the time!"
"And he always hits me for no reason!"
They all were yelling in one big jumble of words. And then, at the same time,
they all yelled, "You like him the best!"
"ENOUGH!" I yelled. "That's it! I've had enough of your arguing! You're all
going to be punished! Go to your rooms!" They all stared at me, too shocked
to move. I had never punished them before and they weren't sure what to do.
"Go!" I added. They all shuffled, flew, and stomped upstairs to their rooms.
"Errg!" I said to myself. "Those crazy little pests are enough to make you
pull your hair out!" I didn't really consider any of them pests. In fact, I
loved them all dearly and I still do. Of course, love or no love, I couldn't
go back on what I said. They had to be punished for their constant fighting.
I made myself a Hot Cup of Borovan, my favourite drink, grabbed a handful of
Asparagus Balls, and sat down at the table to think.
After I had eaten my snack, I grabbed my Sketch-a-Pic, which I never actually
used for drawing, and wrote at the top "Punishment." It took me two more cups
of Borovan, but I finally came up with an idea. I wrote under the heading, "Switch
identities." A few minutes later I had a page full of what I was going to do.
It looked like this.
Switch identities - for an entire day, Currius must be Cequerra,
Cequerra must be AilioXer, and AilioXer must be Currius. They will have to do
exactly what the pet they are acting like does every day. They must also eat
the same foods, do the pet's assigned homework, and play with the same toys.
The punishment will begin on the 24th day of Running in the year 4 at 8:00 Am
NST to 8:00 AM NST of the 25th day of Running in the year 4.
This may not look like much, but those pages were pretty small. I made three
copies and slipped them under the doors of each of my pets. Exactly one minute
later they stormed downstairs demanding that I explain this.
"It's simple," I told them. "Each of you is always complaining that the others
are favoured and are lucky because they have better stuff, so you will each
be one of the others and maybe you'll realise that each other's lives aren't
as easy as you think." They still looked a bit shocked so I continued: "If you
want, we can do this again and you can be your other sibling, that way you'll
understand them both better."
"No!" all three shouted at the same time. It was clear that they thought once
The 24th day of running was in three days, so they had that long to prepare.
They didn't realise that I was preparing for "the switch," too. I served dinner,
Ultimate Burgers (and a Vegetarian Cheeseburger for Cequerra), Onion Rings,
and Kau Kau Farm Milk, and sent them all off to bed early on the night before.
The big day finally arrived and all three came downstairs for breakfast and
sat in their usual chairs. "What are you doing?" I asked them. "Those aren't
your regular chairs." They all suddenly remembered and switched chairs, grumbling
as they did.
Then I served them their favourite breakfast. "Here you go Currius," I said
to AilioXer as I handed him Plum Crunch Cereal. "Your favourite" I did the same
with Cequerra and the real Currius, handing Cequerra AilioXer's favourite breakfast,
Spotted Pudding with Custard, and Currius got Hot Cakes and a Veggie Sausage,
which Cequerra loved.
They were all silent throughout the entire meal, each staring longingly at
the favourite breakfast dish and picking at their own. Finally, it was time
to go. I handed each one their lunch bag with the name of who they were being
today. It was also their favourite lunches.
At lunch, AilioXer discovered Grilled Cheese, Cherry Neocola, and a Chocopie
Slice. Currius opened his bag to find Plum Cheese Bread, Apple Juice, and Cho
Sticks. Cequerra wound up with Beef Rouladen, Green Tea capsules, and a Roast
Gargapple. They each threw the entire lunch away.
And in class, Cequerra had to face AilioXer's monster test, Currius had to
do Cequerra's report on daisies, and AilioXer had to take Currius' pop quiz.
They all came home that day feeling hungry, frustrated, and miserable. And then
I was feeling pretty bad seeing how depressed my pets were looking today,
but thought, Don't stop, they need to learn their lesson. So I served
dinner. Poor Cequerra, a vegetarian, had to prod at his Crown Roast Beef all
night, Currius had to gag on his super sweet Banana Melon Blurb, and AilioXer
had to face a plate of Beefy Broccoli.
After five minutes of prodding the Roast Beef, Cequerra finally broke. "I
can't eat this! I'm so hungry! Please, Mum?" Soon followed a chorus of "Please,
Mum? We're sorry. We'll never fight again!" The sad looks on their faces broke
my resolve and I gave in.
"All right, but if you fight again…" They all nodded in acknowledgement of
what I was trying to say. "Trade plates." I smiled as they happily exchanged
meals and gobbled down what was left on the plate, which was practically everything.
Then I handed them dessert, Chocolate Rolls for Currius, Puzzle Fruit for Cequerra,
and an Iceberg Sundae for AilioXer. By the time they had to go to bed their
bellies were bulging.
"But, Mum," Currius started to ask. "What about our grades? We'll fail if
we keep the grades the others got for us today." AilioXer and Cequerra also
looked worried now.
"Don't worry," I told them. "I already talked with your teachers about it.
They said you could make up the assignments tomorrow." My pets smiled and went
upstairs to bed, and, for once, they weren't arguing.