Please don't ask me what possessed me to do this to myself. I don't really know. I guess it's mostly because I spend a great deal of mental and emotional energy (not to mention time and money) trying to figure out birthday and Christmas gifts for my children that they will be excited about for longer than one day.
Example: Last year Bundle really really wanted a Merida doll with accompanying horse, Angus as seen in the Pixar movie Brave. She talked about it non stop. NON STOP. I got the message loud and clear and went to extra measures to find a really darling doll and soft nuzzley horse at the Disney store. It was probably the gift I most excited to see opened on Christmas morning. I was tingling with anticipation. The moment arrived, she opened it, said yay, didn't look at it again for the rest of the day. Or really ever once since then. I am still sort of disappointed about it even though the next Christmas season is just around the corner. Please don't ask me what to get the kids this year because I have no idea.
Anyway, back to my latest adventure in birthday-gift purchasing, Bitty only asked for one thing for her birthday. And she started asking for it several months ago. And she hasn't veered off course even once. And that thing was....a PET.
We lost Chase's beloved little lizard over the summer, and it was the first time we had been pet-less in our entire marriage. It was kind of weird. And Bitty was just talking and talking about it....anything would do; a snake, a turtle, anything that her big brother was not allergic to, which was reportedly anything with fur. Troy and I talked a lot about it, and we came down to two ideas. One, a tortoise or box turtle and Two, a guinea pig. Yes, I know guinea pigs have fur but I had a hunch that it would be okay. I happen to have a friend who HAD (more on this later...) one guinea pig and I took him over there, made him hold it and pretty much rub his face in it. Nothing happened. Hurray! I was pulling for the guinea pig idea partly because it just seems so much more interactive than a turtle, plus they're one of the only diurnal rodents you can get for a pet. Nocturnal pets = not good. So I began my search.
To make an already too-long story slightly shorter, let's just say that I was led via KSL to a darling little 8 month old guinea pig, formerly known as Cinnamon, being sold by a family in Layton who had a bit of a hard time letting me buy her from them, to the point that I wondered why they listed her on KSL at all. I mean, I really felt bad as I pulled away from the curb and the teenage boy put his head in his hands and started crying. I guess they felt guilty about not paying enough attention to Cinnamon, but clearly they loved her. Too bad, I got her. She came with a lovely cage and tons of supplies and I spent all of $25 on the whole thing. KSL rocks.
I asked my guinea pig-owning friend if she would mind babysitting Cinnamon for a couple of days until Bitty's birthday arrived, and she agreed. And the end of that story is that Bitty ended up getting TWO guinea pigs for her birthday. The daughter of my friend had received her guinea pig Peppermint for Christmas along with another one named Cocoa (the same time Bundle rejected her Merida doll...sniff) and Cocoa had died and she was kind of bored of the remaining animal. She decided to pass it along to us along with all her stuff as well. Two!
On Bitty's birthday, after I cleared away some of her tea party and made a hasty dinner and Grandparents arrived and we ate and I made the mistake of sitting down for two minutes (almost couldn't get up again), we had the kids go in Stomper's room while we brought down the cage, covered it in a table cloth and prepared ourselves.
Bitty seemed completely taken by surprise. A little shocked. And very very happy. It has been two whole weeks now since we have welcomed these two little gals into our home, and Bitty still seems happy and engaged, although she has discovered some of the rigors of pet-ownership. Especially with our two guinea pigs, now named Ruby and LuLu. These little guys wake up with the sun and start chirruping for food insistently. And they need a lot more space than I thought or that their cage provides, and they don't actually get along as well as I was hoping even though we read so much about guinea pigs needing to live in pairs, and they need lots of attention, and we've rearranged half our house...
It's a rather bigger deal than I expected.
But I have a confession.
I don't really care if Bitty takes perfect care of them herself or plays with them multiple times every day because I myself am so fond of them. It turns out that I really benefit quite a lot from animal ownership. I love holding them, I love stroking them - I think if we had gone much longer without a furry little creature for me to love I would have had to start signing up for dog-petting hour at the library. Pet therapy. I need it, I got it, I love it.
Welcome to Ruby and LuLu, hope you're around for a nice long time.