So in the midst of this rather crazy week, in an attempt to feed the children and my husband, and to try to get a little food in my own body, we went out to eat. On the way this conversation ensued:
“Mom and Dad, can I have a dog?” Maggie asked.
“Uh, no,” I said.
“Well, dogs are a lot of work and they cost a lot of money.”
“Well then, what about a cat?”
“Uh, no. Same reasons.”
“But I really love animals. I really want a pet.”
“What do you think about a gerbil?” I asked.
“What’s a gerbil?”
“It’s kind of like a mouse, but it’s cuter. It has fur, it’s little and it lives in a cage.”
“Does it have a little plastic ball that it rolls around in on the floor?”
“Yes. That’s a gerbil.”
“OK. I’d like a gerbil. A girl gerbil, because I really like girls. I will name her Princess. Can we get her now?”
In under 3 minutes she went from wanting a dog, to wanting a cat, to not even knowing what a gerbil was, to naming her new girl gerbil. (Princess? You have to be kidding me.)
“Well, we will have to think about it. All pets take a lot of work. You would have to feed it. You would have to clean up its poop,” I said.
“Oh. Well, could you maybe help me with that end of it?”
“The poop end of it?”
“Yes. I will feed it and you can help me with the poop part.”
“Uh, no. I take care of my own poop, I still help you with your poop and I still help Nicholas with his poop. I’m all pooped out.”
“Well, I can do my own poop now. So I will do my own wiping, and you can do the gerbil’s poop instead of my poop. Can we go get her now?”
“We are going to have to think about it. We will do some research and look into it. Daddy and I will need to talk about it.”
After dinner, my husband suggested we go to the pet store to look around. Both kids loved the fish. Mike raised an eyebrow at me as if to say why not? And I replied with a big Uh, no. If I am going to clean poop it’s not going to be in slimy water already. And I want to be able to pet my pet.
We all looked around. She saw the gerbils, but drooled over the puppies that were there for training. (These same puppies brought Nicholas to tears in less than 2 seconds. He is not a dog-person.)
Then today she caught me off guard.
“Have you and daddy decided about my pet yet?”
“I haven’t had to chance to talk with daddy about it.”
“Not even at night?”
“I wasn’t here last night. Remember, I was with my friends.”
(After 16 questions about my friends, which friends, what we did, where we were, I thought for sure we were off topic.)
“Well, you and daddy talk about it tonight and let me know. It would be a great surprise for my birthday.”