My teens now have pets, pet rodents in fact. We must be insane.
They requested pets for years and years. They whined. They begged. Once, my wife's parents surprised our children with a goldfish and I had ongoing and very inappropriate secret thoughts about eyedroppers and bleach but indeed that slimy fish died of natural causes after a mere three years (!!!) during which I cleaned its bowl every Saturday while my children ignored it.
After it died, the whining and begging resumed. My daughter's homepage for a year was a rabbit with a pancake on its head. Cute, but we held firm (mostly) year after year after year. During that time I never said no. (Nod to parenting guru Barbara Coloroso.) Instead I told them they could have a pet if it met my one main criteria for ALL pets: they can't poop.
My daughter just shook her head. But my son sought a way to somehow meet my unreasonable criteria and still get a pet. We had several conversations about this that included questions such as these:
- Dad, do worms poop? Yes. How do you know? Son, what do you think dirt is?
- Dad, do tarantulas poop? Yes.
- Dad, do frogs poop? Yes. (But we did keep frogs for a while until the big ones ate the small ones. Pure carnage.)
- Dad, this is so unfair--everything poops! Yes, it's true. (When my son finally made this conclusion, I must admit I laughed manically inside myself but I still used the patented "aw shucks" parent face while he stared at me in frustration. I'm not sure if Barbara Coloroso would approve but it bought me more time.)
And I blame it all on Disney.