This, right here, is what happens when love for your daughter overwhelms your common sense.
Internets, please meet Simon, (above) and Charlie (below).
I think I’ve written before about how much Olive loves animals. Her play revolves around them, the shows she watches are all about discovery and conservation, and the kid has logged some serious hours sitting in our neighbours front yard trying to catch squirrels.
She’ll occasionally play with dolls and Lego, but nine times out of ten, she spends her time diving deep into the animal kingdom.
But lots of kids love animals. So, how do we get from there to here? My own foolishness.
You see, I really missed her this Christmas. I’d sit in her room, her whole world reflected around me, and look at her toy tiger, her snail, her bookshelf filled with animal books.
It was one of those movie moments where my heart just filled with so much love and pride for my little animal girl, my own wild-haired wild creature. In that moment, in my too-quiet, too-clean house, with too much time on my hands, I wanted to give her everything.
So when she came home, I broached the topic of getting a guinea pig.
And when I brought it up initially it truly was an idea. I was approaching it like you’d approach a big decision with an adult, like hey, here’s this thing I was thinking about doing. What do you think?
Except I didn’t take into account (again, foolishly) that an adult is a very different entity than an animal-obsessed six-year-old.
So while the words coming out of my mouth were saying “I’ve been thinking about maybe getting a Guinea pig” Olive heard “We are 100% getting a guinea pig. Probably today.”
To my credit, we did not get one that day. Instead, we spent a month lurking on the SPCA website and trolling through the pages of Kijiji, waiting for the right pig. And along the way, Olive informed me that Guinea pigs needed to be in pairs, “because they’re herd animals”.
At first I thought this was just a sly ploy to extract the maximum number of pigs possible from her soft-hearted mother, but lo and behold, she was right. In Switzerland they’ve even passed a law against having solitary Guinea pigs- they must always live in pairs.
Looks like all of that research she’s been doing finally paid off. So then we were looking for two.
Eventually we found these little guys. Brothers, about two years old. Simon is quite charming and social, utterly content to be wheeled around in strollers and wear hair bows. Charlie has a more sensible disposition and seems to spend most of his time cowering in his little log house. Sometimes they chatter and talk to each other, mostly they just eat and poop. Both are settling in to their new homes quite nicely.
Needless to say, Olive is deeply in love.
I, on the other hand, was so overwhelmed by the utter idiocy of bringing more mess and chaos and expense into our lives that sometimes already feel far too messy and chaotic and expensive that after setting up their cage, I promptly had a mini panic attack and my mom and sister had to come save the day with wise words and Ativan.
But watching Olive with these little guys, I keep thinking this is it. These are the good parts. The good parts are always messy and chaotic and expensive. Some people have whole other children for God’s sake –sometimes several! What’s a few little piggies compared to that?
(I will say, however. The poop. Oh my God. I do not understand how it’s possible for a small animal to poop quite this much. It seems completely unreasonable. What kind of animal is made to function this way? Thankfully cleaning the cage is now one of Olive’s chores, and she’s gotten quite good at doing chores without being asked so fingers crossed that continues.)
Her room is now a zoo, and she’s never been happier.
This, my friends, is love. Messy, chaotic, panic-attack inducing love.
Welcome to the family, boys!