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Monday, April 28, 2008

Can we keep it?

"Can we keep it, Mommy?" my sweet little Sarah asked.

My kids have been asking me for a pet for ages. They have their hearts set on a dog.

But I don't want to clean up after one. I don't want to bathe one. I don't want to feed one. I just don't want to do it. And there are times when I feel guilty about it.

Times like this when my sweet little girl is holding up a caterpillar and asking, no make that begging, "Can we Mommy? Can we? Can we keep it?"

"Oh all right," I relent, knowing that no good will come of this.

Sarah had spent that afternoon at the neighbors house collecting caterpillars. They collected 11 in all. She was running around carrying them in her hands and squealing in delight with each one they found.

Her squeals of delight were even louder when we got home and she found one of her very own. So, of course I said that yes she could keep it. We put it in a jar and Daddy drilled holes in the lid.

I knew we were in trouble when Sarah took Cora Alora to bed with her. She placed the jar in the center of a pillow and lovingly told her good night. Cora went with us to our t-ball game the next morning. Sarah didn't want to part with her but she allowed Grandma to hold Cora while she played.

Cora went with us to lunch after the game. And it was after lunch that I realized at little too late that frozen bananas don't make good caterpillar food. Apparently, when they thaw out, the excess water they leave behind is just enough to drown a poor caterpillar that has been mercilessly trapped in a plastic jar.

"Do caterpillars sleep on their backs, Mommy?" asked my sweet son Peter on the drive home from lunch.

"Um, yes, honey. I think they do," was the only response I could muster. I was trying to put off the inevitable.

When we got home we had to tell Sarah the truth and we spent the rest of the afternoon looking for a replacement through tears and moans of "I miss Cora." We eventually found four more caterpillars and she was content.

I wish I could say that I will get my kids a dog when they are older but I don't want to give them false hope. Right now, it's all I can do to help them take care of the caterpillar. I've already accidentally killed one and we all know that the other ones won't be far behind.

And look at the amount of poop they make! It's staggering! Can you see it in there? That's a lot of poop for four tiny caterpillars.

When I look at all that caterpillar poop I just keep thinking about how much dog poop there would be in my backyard and it just makes me feel even more strongly that a dog is not in our future.

But then I look at how happy this little girl is to be holding a caterpillar and I start to think that maybe a goldfish would be a good compromise. At least we could keep it alive longer than 36 hours. (Which is how long the 4 other caterpillars made it.)

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Megan Cobb said...

I'm right there with you on the dog thing, though. Bean and Al BOTH want one and I just keep telling them to let me get done dealing with BABY poop before we start thinking about dog poop. But really, if it's left up to me, I'll probably never be ready for a dog. But yeah. Maybe a goldfish. Maybe.

Mari said...

Too funny - we were initiated into pets when my duahgters 5th grade teach gave each of her students a gold fish - thank you very much! We have since had more fish, a dog, 2 cats and a dwarf hamster. ! cat remains and since we only have 1 kid home now, that will be the last one.
I predict a pet of some type in your future!

Steph said...

We have two dogs, and I assure you, they are a lot of work! We love them dearly, but A LOT OF WORK (they are big...golden retriever & chocolate lab). Ciara and my husband would love to have 10 more dogs (or even 1), but I have put my foot down! But I can tell you that the kids love, love, love their doggies! Good luck!

Brittany said...

What a cute little caterpillar!

Well, good luck from here.... :) I predict puppies in the future!

Jaina said...

Caterpillars are so cute! I'm sorry they didn't last longer. Good luck with the decision about the dog. They're awesome, but they do take a certain amount of work and attention. A goldfish may be a good compromise for now. (or a chia pet? no no, a nano pet...what about a nano pet?)

Anonymous said...

Go with a cat. They are more like roommates. All you have to do is put out some food for them and change the litter a few times a week. More manageable and much more loving than a caterpillar.

Melissa said...

oh that is soooo cute and sad. But if you are starting to get tempted with the idea of a dog kind of... there is always a dog for a family, people just have to do their research. If you are looking for a dog that don't poop big, don't have to bath, clean up after... you might think of a mini dachshund. We had one and loved it, they don't really shed too much and you bairly have to claen them (their coat have some kind of protectino to keeps smell and dirt off pretty good) plus they are really sweet and cuddly too. They are really smart and ours was super easy to train. :)

Christina said...

That was funny. We had a goldfish and it lasted 3 years. He was named 3 fin spike Tamayo. Maybe you will have better luck with a goldfish.

Sorry to be gone for so long but I have been without internet for over 2 weeks.

McMommy said...

Ohhh. I can so relate! Although instead of a dog, Matty is asking for a pet RAT!! Ewwwww!!!!!

Texasholly said...

Please hold your ground about the dog...or I will send you ours. Poor banana juice drowned catapiller. That is tragic but funny.

tommie said...

We are doing a caterpillar project right now. I have already posted days 1-3 and days 4-6. Now they are in the chrysalis stage. They have been this way for about three days now. I hope they all make it. We have five of them!

Annikke said...

I realized the same thing when my oldest son started sleeping with the rollie pollies he found outside. They of course didn't even survive the night. We now have betta fish. They are easy to care for.... but I am the one who feeds them and cleans the water. So I know who would be feeding and cleaning up after a dog.

Tina said...

That's cute. So neat to see how sweetly kids can love something.

We've been dog-free for almost 3 whole years...and I don't miss the poop. The kids are old enough to play in the backyard alone...I don't need to worry about poop wars!

Am I doing okay? said...

We had a pet caterpillar, his name was Eyebrow. We didn't have any pets until our oldest was 4 now we have dog, cat, bird and we kept the class turtles over the summer once. Hold off as long as you can, the 4 yr old is now 7.5 and I still do most of the work. Your daughter favors mine. Seeing her picture made me remember mine littler - I think they have the similar eyes.

MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

For the record, I ALWAYS wanted a dog and NEVER got one for that very reason. Now I have one and um yeah, you're right - lots of input and output! :)

Donna @ Way More Homemade said...

We had our own "cow-a-pitter" encounter several years ago. My darling sister decided it would be cute to put a fuzzy caterpillar that she found in an easter egg as a special prize for the child that found that egg. Of course, it would be my daughter that found said egg. Poor fuzzy didn't even survive the 2 hour ride home. :(

I have duly noted the banana discovery.

Love my 3 dogs. We're about to lose one of 'em and we'll be heart-broken when we do.

Corey~living and loving said...

awwwwwwww look at her...and how happy she is.....that is priceless.

just be careful. some tufted caterpillars have toxins in their hairs. we learn that the hard way. Poor sure got horrible hives. I blogged about it last year. and I linked to it recently. I'll look it up for you if you want.

Family Adventure said...

I wouldn't have the foggiest idea how to keep a caterpillar alive, but you seem to be learning as you go. And that picture of your daughter is adorable - she looks so proud!!

Heidi :)

Chelle' said...

I was following along with that dear story until I saw a picture of the dearest, sweetest, prettiest little girl in all the northern land.

She is just precious Beth. I'm not sure that I've seen a picture of her before... and now I know- our daughters would be the best of friends.


Bonnie said...

What about a hamster or a guinea pig or something like that ? Furry ... fun to play with ... but they poop in a box !! Not all over the yard !!

Myself ... I prefer cats ! They are great. Ours is indoor/outdoor so we don't even have a litter box to clean. She goes outside ! And they do it in an out of the way place and COVER IT UP ! Much better than a dog that poops everywhere !!

Cathy, Amy and Kristina said...

My daughter has the same obsession with caterpillars. Only she always seems to lose them and then spends the next several days asking whether anyone has stepped on one.

And we do have a dog. Elderly and deaf, but sweet and cute, nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

Just a note for future caterpiller grandmas: Only put in the jar with them a twig off the same plant you found them on! They'll survive, but only on the plant they were born on.

I used to be a dog person when I was a kid, but living in a tiny second floor apartment puts the kibosh on that! We do have two cats though, and they're awesome. Just get them when they're teeny, so they learn to deal with kids. We had to find a new home for one of our kitties when our boy came along - but the other one loves him!