This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and wisdom about kids and pets.
We have had some odd pet luck. Years ago, I'd had ferrets, fancy cat breeds and even a hedgehog. My sister once had a chinchilla! My brother bred hamsters (for money) when we were kids. More recently, my husband and I had 20 tarantulas in our collection and even a scorpion for a while! On moving day, we arrived with some of our pets in-hand and told we couldn't take them into our new home. The management had known for nine months that we had spiders, but never mentioned their policy. We had no choice. We sold all but 2 of our specimens to a breeder friend who, thankfully, came over on short notice to purchase them. The 2 specimens we kept went to stay with a friend for about a year until we moved again. We were so pleased when King and Tiny returned to us! We have since lost King in a moult, which is common with his species.
Theraphosa blondi (Goliath Birdeater / King)
We swore we did not want a dog and weren't really interested in a cat, either, but the kids kept asking. Once we were in a house, I felt like it wouldn't be so bad. We could get and love a cat that was indoor / outdoor and it wouldn't be too much work. And so we found Juliet, a 7 month old kitten. She was already used to indoor / outdoor living arrangements and kids! We re-named her Cathulhu and it took a month to get her in to be spayed. Shortly after that, we found out that Daddy's other daughter is allergic to cats. While filing for visitation rights, there was nothing we could do. We had to re-home the cat. It took another month to find a program with room for her. It was 2 hours away.
Let me tell you, it was awkward to have a cat around that you didn't want to love because you knew it was leaving. As we tried to prepare the kids for losing the cat, we promised we'd get hamsters. I think the hamster thing is mostly about Daddy and I wanting to play with arranging the tubes! We got Elsa the day before Cathulhu (Lulu) was supposed to leave, though we did wind up with a delay for a few days. We had Elsa for 2 weeks before deciding she was far too into nibbling people for her to be a good pet for the kids. We were within our guarantee period. We returned Elsa (who was not even the species that the girl had marked on our papers!) and wound up bringing [a new] Elsa and Anna home. These two together aren't as big as Elsa was! They've been together forever and are very young. Between that and their breed, we can keep them together.
I've had times when I worried that lacking a pet was somehow depriving our children of some important experience. I've even asked about opinions on that on my FB page. But now we do have pets, even if they're still not the kind that jump into your lap. Daddy talks of possibly getting a fish tank for the girls' room to use as a night light. The cat was my idea and I was willing to do the clean up work (which sucked right away, of course - and I did have the girls help). I've also done the cleaning / caring of the hamsters. I have absolutely no interest in taking care of an aquarium! If we get one, it will be entirely his project. We do have fun spit-balling ideas for the hamster cage, though! We change it at least once per week, on cage-cleaning day.
Oh yes, when we went to a local supply store for cage accessories, we came home with another tarantula, too! I feel like this is the year of the pets for our family!
Have you had any strange pets?
What pets do you refuse to have?
What pet would you love to have?
Visit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- What Animal Rescue is Teaching My Children
- Tips on Picking the Perfect Kid-friendly Dog — Lactating Girl at The Adventures of Lactating Girl shares some tips she's learned on how to find the perfect child-friendly dog for your family.
- All New Animals Are "Woof" — Baby Boy is still learning animals. Life Breath Present doesn't yet have any at home, but he still believes that all animals are "woof." Here's the proof.
- Dude, where's my Horse? — Adora loves horses, but Erin at And Now, for Something Completely Different really doesn't. However, Adora's longing wins out; learn about their interactions with horses here.
- Weighing the Pros and Cons of a Family Pet — When is a family ready for a pet? Donna at Eco-Mothering discusses her worries as well as the benefits of adopting a dog, including how it will affect her seven-year-old daughter.
- Parenting Challenge--Learning from Animals--running the emotional gammut — Survivor at Surviving Mexico writes about the emotional learning her family has experienced through sharing their lives with animals.
- Puppy Love for our Family — In case you didn't catch it from the blog title, Pug in the Kitchen, the family pet is an integral part of Laura's family and home life!
- Vegetarianism and Animal Rights: Explaining to Children — Becca at The Earthling's Handbook is mostly vegetarian...not 100%, and not because of animal rights...yet she has found that the idea of not hurting animals is the aspect of vegetarianism most easily understood by a young child. She explains what her son has learned about not eating meat and how it has affected his social life.
- Pets & kids: The realities — Lauren at Hobo Mama lays out the benefits and drawbacks of pet ownership when young kids are involved.
- Year of the Pets — Jorje of Momma Jorje wasn't sure she ever wanted pets again, but things have changed a lot this year!
- HOW PETS CONNECT WITH EMOTIONS: KIDS & PETS AFTER 9-11 — Parenting Expert Laurie Hollman at Parental Intelligence discusses the importance of pets in lowering stress after traumatic situations, why children choose certain pets, the loss of a pet, and the role of parents in teaching care-giving to animals in a warm, gentle way.
- It's not our house without a dog! — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work describes why giving a loving and disciplined home to at least one shelter dog at a time enriches the life of her family, and has become a vivid memory in the minds of her children.
- Canine Haikus —
Kids, dog, haikus, at
Dionna (Code Name: Mama).Pet-centric poems.
- Beanie's Bunnies — Our Mindful Life's Sofi Bean has gotten her first pets!
- Montessori Care of Pets — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells about her experiences with kids and pets and shares Montessori resources for pet care.
- How to Nurture Your Child's Awareness of Spirit Guides — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama hosts a post from her regular contributor Lauren of SpiralElixir.com. Lauren looks at the concept of animals as spirit guides and how deeply children are connected to this realm. She also encourages us to open ourselves up as parents to the reality that children are naturally more connected to the animal world, giving us ideas on how to nurture their relationships with their Spirit Guides.
- No Puppy! — Meg at the Boho Mama shares her tips for dealing with toddlers and the (very real) fear of animals.
- 3 Reasons Why Keeping Backyard Chickens is Good for my Toddler — Bianca, The Pierogie Mama, started keeping backyard chickens for the benefit of their eggs, but what she wasn't prepared for was what they would teach her two year old daughter too.