We love birthdays in our family. Or rather I love birthdays and have passed that trait onto to the boys – and my husband goes along for the ride. September starts our “birthday season” which ends in late January. As you can imagine, we are talking birthday wishes, birthday celebrations – all things “birthdays” these days.
Jacob (7, soon to be 8) recently announced during dinner that he would like a puppy. Silence fell upon the table. You could hear crickets – and the occasional tumble weed rolled across the floor. My husband and I glanced up at each other, shared the infamous parental look of “do you want to, or shall I?” I took a deep breath, grabbed a sip of my drink, and prepared myself to have “the talk” with our first born.
Let me give you a quick background on our family history and dynamics. I used to be a HUGE animal lover, well, I do still love the little furry critters. I love them so much that I don’t want them in my home! Back in the day I had pets of all kinds: birds, rabbits, cats, dogs, iguanas, fish – even snails! I wanted to be the 21st century’s Jane Goodall… until I got married and had kids! Now instead of longing to observe gorillas in the mist, I sit on my couch and watch our four boys in broad daylight. I am at a point where I just do not need another living being relying on me for food, attention or a clean(ish) habitat.
So… back to our talk! I looked at Jacob and had to quickly think of a way to crush his dreams of ever owning a dog in this decade (and possibly well into the next decade too). Take note… if you ever find yourself in this situation, the argument I made can easily be applied to any other large pet (think pony, goat, other farm animal or exotic pet above 27lbs).
“Jacob, if you get a dog, you will have to feed him twice a day and take him outside for walks at least three times a day – maybe more”
“I KNOW, MAMA” – said with an irritated tone followed by an eye roll, which I ignored.
“Jacob, hear me out here! Do you know what a dog does every time you take him for a walk? He POOPS! Since you are such a responsible boy, you will have to PICK UP THE POOP when you walk your dog! You will have to bend down and scoop the POOP up in a small plastic bag, by grabbing the POOP with your plastic covered hand!”
“Really, mama?!” – all three little boys are giggling at this point. ANY mention of poop is an instant crowd pleaser!
“Yes, Jacob! And then you have to CARRY the bag of POOP in your hand for the rest of your walk, until you get home where you throw it in the trash! You will be scooping and carrying POOP AT LEAST three times a day!”
More giggling from the peanut gallery.
“Three times a day, 365 days per year – that is roughly little over ONE THOUSAND TIMES PER YEAR that you will be scooping POOP into a bag!”
Giggling turns to nervous laughter.
“Jacob, a dog, on average, lives about TEN years. So that means over the dog’s entire lifespan, you will have SCOOPED and CARRIED over TEN THOUSAND little plastic bags filled with POOP! How does that sound?”
“Uhm, mama, can I have a goldfish?”
And that my friends, is how you squash a little boy’s dream of ever getting a dog!
What are some of the other annoying and outlandish wishes your kids have?