“I Shouldn’t Do This”

The thought thundered in my head last Saturday. I was with my kids at PetSmart. Yeah, that’s a red flag right there.

We were selecting a gerbil (small rat) and a miniature hamster (cute hat pin). My internal chant wouldn’t stop, but I continued moving forward, helping the kids pick out treats and bedding and wheels and cages and food and every other thing PetSmart can get out of you to support a creature that most people kill with a fifty-cent trap.

So why did I ignore the wise voice? I was trapped. This summer, my kids put together a power point and presented all the reasons why they should get the aforementioned rodents. They spoke of their desire to take on more responsibilities, promising to pay for the “pets” and take care of all their needs. Loved their persuasive skills, especially the sucking up that occurred immediately before and after.

My husband and I talked it over. It wasn’t totally out of the question. After all, it would be good for the kids to care for a living creature. We told them we’d consider it (translated: “I-doubt-it-but-I-don’t-want-to-hear-your-whining.”) The kids continued their pitch. They even completed the financial report I requested, showing how they could afford not just the pets, but all the other necessities. Even though it looked as if it might take months of saving, they were fired up. Crap! Now what? They had to prove they could handle school and their current chores for a five-week period. Surely, they’d forget by then.

My plan was working. The idea would come up every now and then, but neither had made an effort to save the money. Then their birthdays came, and their generous grandmother sent them nice, hefty checks. No more stalling, it was time to deliver.

So as we checked out at PetSmart, I decided to bury my voice of warning. I peeked at my son’s hamster with its long, black tail, and Michael Jackson’s “Ben” started playing in my head. Didn’t the rat kill someone in that movie?


9 thoughts on ““I Shouldn’t Do This”

  1. A truely inspiring story of the pit-falls of trying to outsmart your kids. My heart and yes, a little te-he, because I’m past that stage, goes out to you. My grandmother told me, “Keep up the good work trying to raise your kids and they’ll turn out great dispite you.”
    Good luck, the next few years are the most exciting.


  2. I think the only killing going on will be self-inflicted. One stays in privacy house all the time. The other runs on the wheel continuously. Not quite the pet experience the kids were hoping for.

  3. Power point presentations and financial reports? I like the way you think and write. Has the rat…er, pet killed anyone yet? It’s name isn’t Ben, is it?

  4. LOVE it! I can relate to your parenting style because about a year ago, my teenager (at the ripe, old age of sixteen) decided it would be a good idea to move out with her best friend. At the time, this girl’s father was a truck driver and he would be gone for weeks at a time, hence the need for my teen to live with her best friend. No parental supervision, no chores, no curfew…yeah, I don’t think so. But my husband and I didn’t even mention this. We simply said, “Show us on paper how this would be a good idea financially and we’ll consider it.” Long story short? She’s still living with us! Haha!

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