The Proper Pet. Reflections, Week 46

I could hardly say that this week counts as a week of school, Elizabeth and I only did organized school on Tuesday, and again on Saturday night.  I’ve been so crazy running around with getting job applications completed and talking to bosses and what-not.  Accepting new positions is extremely scary to me – it is a real finalization, a surrendering to reality that though I’ve made my decision about my marriage, now I am actually moving forward with taking steps to support myself rather than just saying that I’m ready for a divorce but continuing to depend upon Chepe to pay the bills.

At any rate, I got two jobs this week, and Elizabeth got two pets.  A few months ago, after the bad stuff came to light but before it became unbearable, Chepe, Elizabeth and I were discussing getting a cat again.  We had had my cat from college here for about a year after we moved in and through Paul’s first few months of life, but after we went away and he stayed at my mom’s (where he had been living before for the past 7 or 8 years), I could see how depressed he was to be away from that home and the people and cats there, so I sent him back.  He wasn’t a very good fit for us because he didn’t like to be touched a lot, and with two small children, that caused lots of friction because he was unafraid to scratch and bite in response.

Then, with all the work of a baby, I had no inclination to add more to the mix with a pet until recently.  But then, with all the bad goings on with my marriage, I leaned away from a cat because vet bills are pretty high and my top priority is making enough to be home part-time and homeschool, so high vet bills aren’t too in line with that idea.  As we had let Elizabeth in on the discussion of possibly getting a cat again, I of course had to have a discussion with her about not getting one.  The last few units have been about animals with Moving Beyond The Page though, and one asked her to list the animals that she would like as a pet.  Funny girl that she is, she decided that she would like: 1 – a frog, 2 – a fish, and 3 – a seahorse.  I don’t know about a seahorse, but the other two are more or less easy enough.

I’ve been milling around the idea of looking for a frog to adopt off-line, but the problem with that is the food – we live an hour away from any pet store that will sell crickets or live insects for frog food, and I don’t feel like driving all that way every two weeks, especially as life is going to be even busier with me going back to work.  I couldn’t decide, but was starting to think on a fish – betta fish are easy.

But then Elizabeth caught a toad in the garden and brought it in, claiming that she had found her pet frog.  Indeed.  Well, we kept it in a little container for a day, but it pooped so much it had to be cleaned by the following morning.  So I had my mom bring my old terrarium over, I cleaned it up, threw in some moist dirt (mud really), water, leaves, rocks, and a hamster house, and there lives Climby for now.  The problem is still the food.  We live in the woods, so there are insects aplenty, but I just can’t claim that I’ve got that much time to spend an hour a day catching bugs for the little bugger (eater), though Chepe has been sport.

023  I talked to Elizabeth about my conundrum, and we decided that we would keep the toad for a few weeks and then let it go again, so that it could fatten it’s self up for the winter and be healthy enough to hibernate without dying.  In exchange, I’d get her a fish and eventually a hamster since the terrarium came with a hamster ball and wheel as well that were left over from my college days.

I had an appointment in a town with a pet store on Thursday, and on impulse (I’ve thrown most caution to the wind these days), I told my girl that I’d get her a fish on my way back.  Since betta fish are very easy keepers, I got a nice crowntail male and a cute little tank.  I haven’t the money really to be dumping into pets right now, but I think that somehow, it’s what I need: someone new to take care of, who doesn’t pressure me, doesn’t talk back, who is content without requiring much.  I am surprised that I have spent so many years of my life without pets actually, I loved animals and wanted to work with them (and didn’t love kids so much and didn’t want any), and thought that I would never live without a pet.  When I had Elizabeth though, I found that I do love kids, and that they were enough work without adding the extra stress of a pet on top of it.  But, I think it’s time…


Share your thoughts:  What are some good kid-friendly pets you have or have had?  How have they added to your homeschooling experience?


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