Wednesday, 4 September 2013

The Parenting Files: A Pet Dilemma

Do you have children who are pestering campaigning for a pet of one particular type or another?  From time to time our children have begged for a pet.  At other times we've had pet-loving friends insist we are depriving our children of all the benefits of owning a pet - you know, companionship, responsibility...that sort of thing. 

I have been the biggest resister to the pet owner wannabe's around here.  I maintain that I care for a husband and three children and that's enough living things to feed and clean up after.  My other insistence is that the best parent a child can have is a sane one and I am convinced adding pet responsibilities to my list of things to remember would tip me over the edge, not to mention that our fences are not up to the task of keeping things in.  I know this because we can't keep things out - dogs, cats, rabbits - they all visit our yard from time to time.

Over the last school holidays, however, I relented and we babysat Jane.  Jane is a spiny stick insect who resides in the VCE Common Room at school (VCE = Yr 11 & 12) and she needed someone to look after her for the three week break.  She doesn't take a lot of looking after.  She has her own 15cm glass cube and all she eats is gum leaves.  Well....this is Australia, we have plenty of those close enough to snaffle without causing problems.  She just requires a daily water spray and a weekly cage clean and replacement of leaves.  Miss Sunshine desperately wanted to have her for the holidays so I agreed, given she's old enough to take care of a stick insect without my intervention.

Or so I thought.

By the end of the holidays I was demanding Miss Sunshine clean Jane's cage and replace the dried-out leaves.  I was grumping at Miss Sunshine for spraying all kinds of who-knows-what smelly stuff around the room and fumigating poor little Jane who likes non-polluted air.  Every now and then I would bring Jane out to sit in the sunshiny family room with clean fresh air to breathe and let her crawl on my hand.  Just so she knew someone in the house loved her.

Jane was a trooper.  She survived.  She even grew.  We know this because she shed her exoskeleton.  And then she ate it in true stick insect fashion.  I'm not much of a pet person but I didn't mind having little Jane around, with her cute little dances.  Miss Sunshine, however, confirmed for me why we don't have pets. 

Jane survived in spite of her.

1 comment:

Left-Handed Housewife said...

As you know, Will is very adamant about getting a new pet (we have a dog), preferably some sort of reptile. I'm not against it, but I do wonder how much extra work it's going to bring me. Well, none, because if the cage starts to get smelly, the lizard will be finding a new home!