For the past three months, my youngest daughter has been longing for a pet mouse. Nevermind that we have fish, a dog, and a bird (we had a cat too — but after ten years of allergies, we moved her to our kind hearted distant relatives). But no matter — depsite all of the animals in our lives, my seven-year-old wants to introduce our household to yet another species. She wants a mouse.
Well… I’m a sucker for animals. I love having pets. However, before I gave in completely to my daughter’s wishes, I laid down some rules.
#1) She had to earn the money to pay for the mice (we decided she get could two so they wouldn’t be lonely), the habitat, and the food.
#2) She had to do her own research and learn how to care for the cute little creatures BEFORE she purchased the mice.
And I am happy to say, she has spent the past few weeks checking out books from the library, and reading online articles about the care and feeding of pet mice. In fact, her research led her towards hamsters for a while — but then, after reading about how social mice are (with other mice, not with people), she went back to her original choice. She’s learned a lot about their behavior, their needs, their diet, and their lifespan (around 1-2 years… so I have a feeling they’ll be heartache in the not-so-distant future). She now considers herself a mouse expert.
So, today, she proudly walked into the pet store — with money that she has earned from extra household chore– and she selected her two new companions. She quickly named them Button and Popcorn. Now the mice are snuggled in their new habitat, and my seven-year-old is asleep in her own bed, dreaming happily. All is well.
Except now my ten-year-old wants a frog.