I had this guinea pig when I was about three and I still remember “Nutmeg.” Christmas came around the corner and I thought of creative ways we could replace materialism with a sense of responsibility for the kids. So I did what most parents do and equate responsibility to a pet.
Surely a five and three-year old would be able to take responsibility for a guinea pig. I mean, it’s not like I got a cat or a dog. I thought a cat would require far too many cleanings of the litter box and let’s face it, a dog would require far too many walks. I’m lucky I can even walk myself.
I looked through the store and saw my options. The chinchillas were cute, yes, but perhaps too big for them? A bunny would even resemble the sixth member of our family, “Hippy,” but I thought that would be too much work. The rats, mice and hamsters were a big ‘ol,
The last time I saw something that small in my house growing up, I have vivid memories of my mother yelping and lunging onto our kitchen counter. So, I went to the best case scenario and thought to myself, “Why not a guinea pig?”
I thought of this genius idea weeks before Christmas, but in typical mommy fashion, I waited until Christmas Eve (yes, Christmas Eve) before attempting to purchase one. Why no one told me that guinea pigs were apparently that popular is beyond me. There I was going to every damn near pet store I could find but not without walking out in sheer panic for the epic Christmas gift I didn’t have. I went as far as twenty miles from home to find a guinea pig but I came to find out (thanks to the honest cashier) that it had worms.
That would be my luck.
So there it stood. A nice, two tiered guinea pig cage on Christmas morning except it was empty. I was panicked and defeated so I scrambled for any bow I could find to help take the attention off of the empty cage. I immediately thought of proposing a different alternative. Why not allow the kids to pick out their very own guinea pig? I just left out the part about the fact that they would likely have to wait until new shipments came in which I learned had no timetable.
Wait? That requires patience and any parent knows this is not something any 5 and 3-year old have much of. Fortunately it was only a week before we found out a shipment of 8 small guinea pigs arrived in one of the local pet shops. So, we made it a special excursion to find the kids their first official pet. They were so excited, but so was I. I envisioned this moment for weeks and was convinced it would invest months of happiness that would surely last us through winter.
There was “Chip.” He is black with white spots and the kids talked about what they would name him before he made his way to the empty cage back home. We returned home, acquainted Chip to what was no longer an empty cage and the kids were in awe. They stared and couldn’t wait to take him out so he could travel his way through the house. I watched them in complete awe and excitement. They were speaking to him, telling Chip their names and even Benny laid beside his siblings in total curiosity for what this furry fella had to offer them.
Chip was not just my invitation that day, but he was theirs too.
Now I will tell you a few things I’ve come to find out since Chip entered our home.
~Guinea pigs poop. A lot. Somehow I forgot that part when I was three. I doubt I was responsible for that part and guess what? I don’t want to be now. I clean up enough poop.
~Like all things, the novelty of Chip wore off after a good week. A week my friends. A week!? I’m lucky I can convince any of the kids to even look at the cage. So what does this mean? Our sixth member is now my responsibility every day and I have to pretend as if I don’t have enough responsibilities.
~Not the best idea I’ve had. Nope. He’s cute, don’t get me wrong, but why I didn’t learn that 5 and 3 year olds are excited for about 5.6 minutes before they move onto the next exciting thing will be another memorable mommy fail for the books.
So far his only true fan is Benny. Thank God for him.
Oh and lastly…
I could have kept that empty cage and they would have been just as excited. Autumn came down Christmas morning and hugged that empty cage more than she has since it’s been occupied by Chip. I could have put a stuffed guinea pig in there and saved me money, time, frustration and price chopper plastic bags filled with poop pellets.
Lesson learned, but for now, meet Chip.
In Love & Truth,