Wednesday, February 10, 2010
I've been very sporadic about mentioning birthdays on the blog through the last few years. I don't have any good reasons for that... but I aim to do better.
Sunburst turned ELEVEN the other day. Holy cow! I can't believe we've been doing this parenting schtick for eleven years already! It seems like only yesterday she was smearing food in her hair and flushing miscellanea down the toilets.
Now she's a pre-teen and experiencing all the fun that goes along with that-- mostly staring wide-eyed through the windows of Claire's and contemplating new earrings (she got those pierced last birthday). I know she was wishing for a special new pair for this birthday. She was hoping for other typical presents, too-- books, craft supplies, games, and... a rat.
Yep, I said Rat. Disgusting, eh? It wasn't at the top of my list either, but somehow she got it into her head that having a pet rat would be a fine idea. We studied them last year during our man and animal block, though I admit she was already smitten by then. Shortly after that she presented her dad and me a heartfelt proposal detailing how she would take care of a rat if she was allowed to have one. A heartfelt proposal, with drawings no less... how can you say no to that?
We couldn't. I was reminded of something Charlotte Mason said (and I'm paraphrasing here) about how children need something to love. Something to think about, to take care of. Eleven is surely old enough-- why not a rat?
When we got back from the States Einstein took her into the pet store to pick out a rat. It was easy, peasy. One came right up to the glass and made eyes at her. "Pick me! Love me!"
And then the pet store people informed Einstein that, by Swiss law, they had to buy two. Isn't that crazy?! Apparently this Noah's ark-ish law applies to a few other animals, not just rats. Alas, it was not "buy one, get one free."
I present you with our rats: Pepper and Pancake.
Sunburst and her rats have become fast friends. They are extremely tame. They love to crawl around her dollhouse and snuggle with her while she reads. She loves them. She loves to think about them. And she loves to take care of them. And she's already making headway trying to train them.
And me? I had agreed to rats on one promise from her-- that under any circumstances I would not be required to deal with them, including touching them. I was serious. The idea of rats seriously disgusted me. I imagined them running around the house pooping on everything and chewing up my knitting.
But now that I've seen them... they're beautiful. They're sweet. And they are VERY clean animals. I can't help myself. I'm in LOVE... with rats!! Who knew??