When the fish bowl starts looking a little green and murky the kids make sure to tell me (as if I don't already see it). This normally means it's time for me to clean it.
When I feed Darth 5 pellets instead of 3, like the pet store attendant advised us to do, they make sure to tell me I'm overfeeding it.
They repeatedly say, "mom, isn't the hamster so cute?" and "don't you just love Chewie?" What I really want to say is "No" but I try to be nice and say something like "uh huh." For some reason I haven't bonded with Chewie and have no desire to either.
They love to take it out and hold it. It makes me slightly irritated because it's always before we eat and even though I make them wash their hands, I can't help but think of all the little germs, dander and microbes still clinging to those little fingers that they're going to use to eat and maybe even end up licking. eew.
They build things for it and like to let it roam around on our carpet, their blankets, and sheets. I try to cut these activities short to try to avoid an accident. Hamster waste is sooooo stinky and not a pretty sight AT ALL folks. We have learned the hard way. And even though the kids know what I'm talking about, they insist on letting it explore.
When it's low on food, they bring me the teeny bowl.
When I set it's cage somewhere out of the way, it's brought back to somewhere in the way. When I put it near the back door, someone tells me it's too cold for him and moves the cage somewhere warm.
When I leave the cage outside after cleaning it out, they once again tell me it's too cold even though I remind them that the hamster is furry. I like to say, "It's not the cold you should be worried about, it's the CATS." They look at me with horror and so I bring the cage in out of guilt.
When the hamster goes missing, what do they do? They refuse to go to bed. And when we've search up and down and it is not turning up and they're forced to go to bed, they are devastated, torn, and worried. I lean more towards, "What a waste of 8 bucks," or "I hope it doesn't die in our vents and make the house stinky" or "I wish it wore a diaper." Regardless of my thoughts, it's one of the few prayers that's uttered from my mouth that they actually listen to and insist on making sure I ask God to help us.
I can't say I know what all the fuss is about. I use to be a pet person but not so much anymore. If I may just say for the sake of this post that my kids are like my pets, then the only pets I fuss over and absolutely adore are the ones I gave birth to. I do love to hold them and snuggle with them, maybe even to some degree like the way they love to hold Chewie. And do I ever FUSS over them. Yes. When I think they're in danger of being cold, I bundle them up, I wrap them up in blankets, etc. etc. I'm constantly making sure they're clean and fed, that they get attention and are allowed to explore. And when they go missing, I certainly don't go to bed, not that that has happened too many times. But when they are away, I think about them and hope they're safe and sound. And those are just a few out of the millions of times I've worried and fussed over each and every one of my boys, pets if you will.
And although I haven't ever thought to say, "Isn't the hamster so cute and don't you just love him?" you most likely have heard me say or write plenty of similar things about my kids. So I guess I can see what some of the fuss is about. Perhaps it's a reflection of how much love they've experienced and these pets are allowing them to exercise and cultivate their abilities to care for and love something/someone. And those are good things.
Come to think of it and now remembering some of my pet experiences......I cried everyday for several days when my pet bird was attacked by a cat and later died from it. Actually I was devastated and heart broken, nothing could make me happy for days, especially not a replacement. It's possible to love something that much and actually I'm kind of glad my kids are really experiencing it.
And I can't forget about the day I returned home from serving a mission in Japan only to find my dog missing. It had been 5 months and no one bothered to tell me. What did I do? I went looking for her and even tried calling for her as if it were just that morning that she disappeared. She was so darn cute and so fluffy as a puppy. And I was so excited to see her. Bummer. I hope someone good found her.
And how many times did I have my cat sleep in my bed? So many times, I had fleas in my bed, but I didn't care. And I can't forget to mention that I was allergic to it and would wake up puffy eyed and sneezing.
All right, my heart if softened. I guess I just needed to be reminded of my kid days. And now I can try to be a little more sympathetic to our pets and empathetic towards my kid's feelings.
So the next time they ask me "Don't you just love Chewie?" I can say something like "I'm so glad you love Chewie and I had pets I loved when I was your age....."