Thursday, July 19, 2012

should we get a pet? and which kind?

Another great one by Hyperbole and a Half

The "When can I...?" questions have begun in our household. They were trickling in for a while, and then I think it kicked into high gear once Vivi spent two weeks with a nine-year-old girl who attends sleepovers, has already been Bieber-ified, and is talking about what her first tattoo will look like (Winnie the Pooh on her foot, how original!). Now I hear questions that I'm sure she picked up from this girl. I'm sure mostly because of how hilariously skeptical Vivi sounds when asking me, like she's not entirely sure she wants this procedure done and is hoping I'll say no.

Exhibit A, in the car a few days ago: "Mommy, when can I get my belly button pierced? {long pause...from both of us} And how do they do that anyway? And what kind of a STORE DOES THAT?!?"

She is usually relieved when I tell her either that she needs to be a grown-up first, or sometimes I just say we'll never do it (hehem, belly button. No.). One discussion I need not speculate the seriousness of is whether and when we can get her a pet. The only person on the planet that loves dogs more than Vivi is Charlotte, who absolutely flips out if she gets even within earshot of a dog. They love our cat, but as any cat-owner knows, she's not much of a pet except that she occasionally allows them to chase her around the house. After having a turtle and a hamster in her classroom last year, Cici is well aware of the notion of keeping a caged animal, and she wants one.

And moi? No thanks. Even as child, I wasn't much of a pet owner. I'm pretty sure at this point I'd rather eat a rabbit or a fish than own one. The idea of having one more being to care for, especially one that requires wood shavings or food pellets to mess up an already chaotic, messy house, is enough to make me reach for my brown paper panic bag.

So what is a mother to do? What are y'all doing in the pet department? Although I typically stick to the tips and tricks style of posting, I really have no idea what I'm doing in this area of life/parenting. I DO know that we aren't getting a dog, at least not until the kids are threatening to find another mom and dad if we don't get them one. So what's left that can remove some of this mom guilt but not add so much insanity that I am tempted to flush and/or give to the cat as a treat?


DGMommy said...

I keep meaning to write my own post about this. Do you have a neighbor who has a dog? My 7-year-old was driving me batty with the dog question, which we're also not ready for. I asked the neighbor if we could walk hers a couple of times a week and it has been blissful! My daughter's happy, the dog and the neighbor are happy and I'm happy. I have even started to say "when" instead of "if" we get a dog because of it!

Second, a gecko might seem strange, but it's actually a fun, easy and relatively inexpensive pet! It's made a great first pet for the same child mentioned above (she wants every animal on earth - pretty certain she'll be running her own zoo or rescue center in the future)!

Good luck!

Sarah Lillian said...

Fish! Guppies are super cheap and hearty. You can find colorful ones with big gorgeous tails (usually the males). And your daughter will have fun picking out tacky decorations for the tank.

Babci said...

I finally got a dog on my 10th b'day . They had to get me one , there was no shutting me up otherwise . I've always had a dog , but dogs aren't for everyone and I think you are one of those people . Traveling is hard enough with 2 kids , the dog adds a whole other problem set . Forget frugality , the vet bills will make you cry and the boarding fees will make you wonder what you were thinking . Just say no . Nancy Reagan agrees .

The Lone Home Ranger said...

I love the dog walking idea! I actually don't know anyone close by that has a dog, but I might sneakily try to make friends with some dog walkers at the park. Is that creepy? :) Also, I've heard the gecko idea from friends who are in our same boat, but they heard geckos can live longer than you'd like.

The Lone Home Ranger said...

Funny! And yes, I think you're right. You would know. :)

Alice Piontek said...

I love the dog walking idea! My mother gave into every desire we had when it came to animals, at one point we had three dogs, two cats and a rabbit. I adored them all and I think it contributed to my comfort with animals as a small farmer. I also think it's a really nice way for kids to understand needs outside of their own as adults often hide their own needs from kids. That said, I went away to college and left my poor mother with two dogs in a condo. She has had the terrible task of nursing them both in the end of their lives- which was the last thing she wanted when she finally got the kids out of the house. Are you able have a couple hens? They don't live as long as a dog, produce eggs and eat your table don't even need a noisy rooster. Just a thought, lots of love!

hobomama said...

Ah, we've been going through these same questions. We're currently thinking hedgehog. I know! Unusual, and they're supposed to be fairly clean; you can put them just on a fleece liner instead of wood shavings. We had gerbils when we were first married, but they die within just a few years. I'd love to get a cat again, because it would be nice to have a pet who likes me in return, but life with littles is challenging enough without furballs added. The emotional part of me wants to take the plunge back into pet ownership, but the rational side, and my husband, keep pulling me back.


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