Monthly Archives: August 2014

Pets, to have or not to have them

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Hubby has been trying to convince me to get a dog to the girls. And I am decided to stick with my decision of not having pets until they can look after it themselves. And by they I mean the three of them: the girls and hubby.

Before you think I’m a cruel soul that doesn’t like animals, let me clarify that I had my lifetime share of pets during my childhood – rabbits, dogs, parrots, monkeys, tortoises, turtles, hens and rooster, guinea pigs, white mice. I liked having pets, a lot, but never felt this unconditional love that many people feel. Part of me thinks that this lack of unconditional love was due to the fact that I hated to know they would die before me (and eventually they all did). I should know by now that this is the cycle of life (*pause for Lion King’s soundtrack here*), but in my mind it just feels like masochism to carry on with it. I can’t do any more death and I cannot deal with corpses. That simple.

There are a few other reasons why I am reluctant to have any pets:
– Normal people can go on a two week (or more) holiday and leave their pets with neighbours, hotels, carers. I don’t like the idea. If you ever had a dog in your life, you know how attached to their owners they are and the whole idea of leaving them makes me sad.
– On a similar note as above, we spend 12 hours out and about and the poor animal will be at home on its own (and will be needy when we come back and no one will sleep until very late). Not fair to the pet; not fair to me.

– Having a dog to me is almost like having a third child. Not on the unconditional love side, but on hard work side. They can get ill, they need attention, they eat your shoes (when they are babies), they bark at night, they pee and poo everywhere until they are potty trained. But they don’t talk, they never will and you will always be guessing what they are really feeling.

– I know that my little troop here will want to have all the fun and mummy will end up having to do the dirty job. I don’t want to have to clean poo, bathe, take for walks, miss work to take the pet to the vet… it might sound cruel, I know, but I rather be honest than to end up extremely grumpy doing things I don’t want to just because no one else will and then regret having the poor animal at home. And worse: giving the dog away because it’s too much work (now THAT is cruel).

– When I was younger (“so much younger than today”) I was extremely allergic to cats and dogs fur. As in spending days scratching my nose and sneezing non-stop and on medication to be able to sleep. Laura might have asthma/bronchitis. What if she is allergic as I was? It is worth putting her through this if we can avoid it?

– They will both go to a childminder that has a cute and friendly dog. They will spend more time with the childminder than at home. There, it’s almost like having their own dog, without worrying what the heck we do with it when we want to go on holidays.

=> Dogs are by far my favourite type of pet. I find rabbits cute but that’s about it, no other “use”. Hamsters give me the creep (giant mice). Cats are not welcome in this house (despite being Laura’s favourite). Fish… I consider them decoration, like a vase or a picture on the wall; and a very high maintenance decoration, since it involves feeding and clearing the tank (or maybe there are modern gadgets that auto feed and clean it for you. I have a feeling the girls would lose interest on a turtle quite quickly. And foxes and squirrels are illegal to have as pets I think (and apparently they are not very safe). And I find it cruel to have caged birds. So… Tamagoshi anyone?!

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It’s just a phase, they say

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This morning, Laura had a “fit”. Screaming at us, being aggressive (as in punching me), grinding her teeth, etc. It was out of the blue – apparently she woke up fine but her mood changed like the weather in the UK.

We think it was a bit of jealousy because Beatrice was in our bed. It doesn’t make sense to me because Beatrice is ALWAYS in our bed when Laura comes in the mornings.

This terrible twos are lasting a couple of years now, but if on one hand it is a pain to deal with it, on the other it seems slightly easier as she is now a child that can communicate her feelings (even when screaming her lungs out) and expresses herself almost clearly. And maybe because of that, I find it even more frustrating to deal with these crisis. “For god’s sake, I am trying to talk to you, to give you options, to calm you down, to play with you so why the heck can’t you just stop and understand?!?” That’s the feeling.

In the last two, three weeks I found myself trying to convince two friends not to have kids. Yes, you read it correctly. The two are 35+ and although their biological clocks are not ticking, they have that mentality of “shit, if I don’t have kids now, I might regret in the future”. So, they DON’T want to have kids now. They are only scared they might be too old when they decide to have kids and then be too late. I don’t know about you but I think this is just wrong. Kids are not a walk in the park – and I can tell you that before having them, I thought it was and now I can see that it is a walk in the park when it’s pouring down with rain, dark and cold and very chaotic; it’s like when I went to Reading festival to see Pearl Jam: I absolutely loved the show, but all the previous bands, the mud, the weirdos and the travel to and from were so painful… Honestly, if you get to 42 and you decide that you want to have a kid and you are ready to have a kid, adopt one! Being a parent is not about giving birth (some women don’t even like the experience). And you might get to 42 and realise that you are happy without kids. Parents will probably say that they can’t imagine their lives without their children, and it’s true that it’s such a life changing experience and all the love that you feel for those little creatures cannot be put into words, yadda yadda, but you can’t miss what you don’t have, eh? If you are happy without kids, why would you miss having them at all? One of these friends I was talking about, spent two weeks with a friend who has a kid and she is now having second thoughts about having her own… it was too noisy for her.

Back to the tantrums… sometimes I just don’t know what to do. The manual says not to shout, not to slap,
not to punish, not to bribe, not to threaten, not to put in naughty corners, to put in naughty corners, to walk away and let the child be, not
to walk away… The manual says to be calm, talk softly but firmly (don’t even know what the heck it means), smile and be understanding, sing and twirl like a fairy, sing Let it go… there is a lot of dos and don’ts that not always make sense – or they always make sense but they contradict each other;
does it make sense?

But most of the time, the key is to be consistent. Apparently. Life with a child should be a repetition, on and on and on and on, the same thing. Same waking up times, bath time, meal times, sleep times… kids like to know what’s coming next, what to expect. And maybe this is where we are failing. We do try to keep things consistent but life hasn’t been that easy these days. Being on maternity leave, traveling to Brazil for 6 weeks, going back to work, family around for 8 months, one goes another one comes, Laura’s friends leaving pre-school, no ballet for a while… I have to say that it has been hard to keep a routine, for them and for us, and I wonder if this is playing its part in the sporadic tantrums. If it is, hopefully things will get better from September, when school starts.

Or maybe it’s just a phase and we will have to deal with it until they are 18.