Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Chia Pet!

I normally pay attention to Chia Pets only around Christmas, but since I was so busy a few months ago, I didn’t get to keep up the tradition. Maybe this is why I’ve felt so hollow. Thank God for the Ninja Turtles.

Spotted just last night, it’s the official Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Chia Pet, which I think we can take as proof positive that Nickelodeon’s new series is doing pretty well.

I’ve barely paid attention to the new show. Don’t yell at me. I’ve already heard about how great it is, and about how it’s such a perfect balance of nostalgia and new hotness, and about the unlimited extra-vowel Krangs. I’ll get to it, and I’ll love it.

Still, I have to admit that the show’s success took me by surprise. This isn’t the first time TMNT has been brought back, and with all previous attempts, it never seemed to truly click. With the new series, you can’t say the same. I haven’t looked up the ratings or anything, but the fans are obviously there, and they’re not treating it like “just another show.”

How can I put this? The new series just seems so revered.

I have seen all of the toys, of course, and they’re great. You’ll never catch me admitting that the new figures are better than the ones I grew up with, even if my brain knows that they are. In particular, I’m impressed with how creative the new line has been. It’s anything but barebones, and anything but rushed. What could’ve been the simplest doodads were approached with such wacky gusto, and even from afar, from “show” to “stuff” and everything in between, it’s easy to see that the new Turtles are firing on all cylinders.

And yeah, now they have a Chia Pet.

Lacking weapons or color, I’m not sure which Ninja Turtle it’s meant to represent. Smart money is on Mikey, I guess. Perhaps someone who knows more about Nick’s Turtles will point out that the stitching on the elbow pad confirms this as a different character. It’s here where I’ll admit that while I claim to welcome corrections, I really don’t.

No matter which Turtle, he looks great. The terracotta figurine has a good amount of detail, even nailing the weird mouth. We’ve come a long way from the era of bloated testicles with ram heads and peg legs.

I used to fear Chia Pets, but not anymore. I finally have them down to a science.

The trick is easy: Just follow the instructions. Don’t make up your own instructions as you go along, as I so often did. Believe what the Chia people say, because if you’re going to listen to anyone about raising a Chia Pet, it should be a Chia person.

So, soak that planter for an hour. Don’t assume it’s a bullshit step. It isn’t.

And soak the seeds for an hour, too. Make sure you get the measurements right. Two teaspoons of seeds, and a fourth of a cup of water.

When it’s time to apply the seeds, use your fingers. Nothing works better on Chia Pets than fingers. Get those seeds in every groove, but be careful not to put too many. Clumps of Chia seeds never grow right.

You won’t need all of the seeds, or even close to all of them. This means you’re going to have to sacrifice a big pile of gelatinous goo. Deal with it. Chia seeds are cheap. Don’t treat them like diamonds.

The most important thing is the loose plastic bag. I cannot stress this enough. The instructions make it seem sort of optional, but unless you live within the one sunny patch of a tropical rainforest, you need the bag. This will improve humidity and moisture, ensuring fast and even growth.

I know it’s an ugly step, since it means you’ll be staring at a bag-covered Ninja Turtle for several days. Trust me, it’s worth it. You can take the bag off after the seeds sprout, so it’s not like you’ll be suffocating Michelangelo forever.

Part 1 of this story ends here. My Chia Pet will need some time before it stops looking like a Ninja Turtle covered in ticks. When it becomes beautiful, you’ll be the second person to know.