Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Slippery Slope to Dogs and Cats

Who knew what the Cavia porcellus could do. We certainly never imagined. Refused to imagine actually. After Jumpy Tree Summer and Goldie Rose Macaroni, that was it. No matter how much the girls worked on us for something else. No more domestic tragedies. No more fuss. No more muss.

But then a friend had four she needed to find a home for because her family was moving. Two brothers, a sister and their mother. The Mama (what I lovingly call my wife) talked with me about them, although we'd said previously, "Forget it -- not going to happen."

Until it eventually does.

The Mama showed me pictures. She showed the girls pictures. She told me we'd get a cage for them as well. She told me we'd probably only take either the boys or the girl and the mother, but not all four, which seemed to sound better. We talked about the pros and cons. We talked about how the girls would have to help care for them, to help feed them and clean their cage. We talked about how we'd have to find someone to care for them when we'd go on vacations.

Then she asked me, "What do you think? Should we take them?"

To which I replied, "Okay."

And that was all she wrote.

What's funny is this is exactly how it went nine years earlier when we talked about having the girls. We'd come off of another fun road trip through the Southwest, and it was during this trip where the idea of having kids finally began to chip away at our adamant decision to initially not have them. So there we were, sitting at the bar of our favorite pub, eating burgers, drinking beers and playing Scrabble on our then travel board (before the iPad application), and I look at the Mama ask:

“So, do you want to have a kid?”

Without missing a beat, or looking back at me as she formed her next word on the board, she said:

“Okay.”

And that was it. We didn’t talk about again until the next morning. And then one week later we started trying to have a family, the eventual #BhivePower.

Back to the Cavia porcellus -- the Guinea pigs -- these plump, colorful, docile balls of purring snuggly fur. Actually, they make a lot of different noises including a "wheek" -- a loud noise, the name of which is onomatopoeic, also known as a whistle. An expression of general excitement, it may occur in response to the presence of its owner or to feeding. It is sometimes used to find other guinea pigs if they are running. If a guinea pig is lost, it may wheek for assistance.

They're pretty adorable. They look more like rabbits sans the long ears, but much more cuddly. Oh my, are they cuddly. So we took the mother and her daughter and adopted them into our family. The girls named them Dandelion Clover (the little girl) and Sweetheart Watermelon (the mother). I joked with the Mama that this would be the slippery slope to dogs and cats.

"No. No, it's not," she said. "Not going to happen."

Until it eventually does.

Never mind that the little cuties only live about four to eight years. And that they've been bred as food for thousands of years. And have been used in folk medicine and religious ceremonies. And were used in biological experiments. None of which we've shared with the girls except for the longevity part, because they asked.

But when it comes to helping further develop empathy and engagement and taking care of another living "thing" -- and to turning off the TV and the devices (which we're quite guilty of using as distracting surrogates), we're all in.

Who knew what the Cavia porcellus could do.



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