Mum I Want A Pet

Uh oh - I've been dreading those words - and yet I knew that once I had kids there was a certain inevitability that they would come my way at some point. Just not yet. I wanted to be prepared for the question; I wanted to be loaded with some great responses; I didn't want to have the question thrown at me while I was in the middle of some crisis.

But kids know exactly when to attack don't they? Like somehow they can sense when you are at your weakest and most likely to succumb. As it is, the question came with Fin dragging on the floor behind me, holding onto my jeans which were now half way down my backside. The washing machine had been 'magically' turned to the 90'c setting mid cycle and the dishwasher arm was getting jammed on a rogue pan handle that had been left sticking up at the wrong angle. My much needed shot of caffeine was now rapidly becoming over-stewed and colder by the second. I was weak - and he knew it.

Mum can I have a pet pleeease? came the question again. "Yes. yes, just leave me alone for a second" I retorted. Oh my woolly word I had just agreed to a pet - what had I let myself in for? Jon was gonna go mad. Ok think Becky. How would I explain this to Jon? Course I could use the usual arguments that kids need to learn responsibility for caring for their pets, and then ultimately they would learn life's harsh lesson of death and saying goodbye to a loved one and Jon would agree with a knowing nod.

Utter baloney - Jon would never agree, and if I was perfectly honest, a pet is the last thing I wanted. Life is hard enough with two children, a husband and myself to keep fed, watered and clean. A pet is the last thing this family needs.

Later that day when Fin was happily emptying my clean wet washing all over the 'not exactly clean' kitchen floor, I sat down with Ben to play a game and broached the subject. Sweetie, what type of pet were you thinking about? I asked him (praying that the answer would be a stick insect). "A dog" came the hopeful reply. My heart sank - a dog? The worst possible option. Now for all you dog lovers out there, please don't bite my head off, but a dog??? I mean, they need feeding, stroking, walking and tummy tickles. They need de-worming and their teeth cleaning. They need anti-flea treatments and they worst of all they need attention!

"Honey, dogs are very friendly, but when we see dogs at the park, you are a little bit scared of them" I ventured. "Oh mum I'll be fine... mum, are dogs smelly?" That was it - this was my chance for emancipation. "Not usually, but sometimes they smell a little bit" I said. "I definitely don't want a smelly pet mum, can we have a rabbit living in our bathroom like my friend Chelsea? After all the bathroom already gets a bit smelly sometimes so it wouldn't matter if the rabbit made it even more smelly" Oh lordy lordy - I am quite a laid back mum when it comes to a lot of things but a rabbit in our bathroom is NOT happening in this life time. But to give him credit you can't fault his logic.

After realising that rabbits should really live outside, Ben decides we need to look on the internet for a pet that is, for all intents and purposes, an 'Asperger's friendly' pet - i.e. one that Ben can feed but is not smelly, noisy, scary or too demanding of mummy's attention.

I found one. This is the reason I can justifiably call myself a supermum. I found a 'pet' that can be fed AND meets all the above requirements, keeps Ben happy, satisfies Jon and meets my 'no extra work' criteria. We have to wait 'til the end of April to buy one as that's when the next delivery from the States is due to arrive. The new addition to the Gorman household is going to be named 'Vernon' - he's a Venus Fly Trap.

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