Roughly a week from now, my oldest son is turning six years old. This does, to some extent, freak me out (how the heck has time gone by that fast???). But we won’t talk about that.
About a month ago, Noah started telling us that he wanted a pet for his birthday. Never mind that we have three dogs and a ferret. After all, the ferret is off limits for the kids due to his ability to draw blood. And the dogs? Well, Noah explained to me that those belong to Sean and me. After all, the dogs all came before any of the kids. So, obviously, at the age of almost-six he has developed a decent sense of logic (darn it!). He wanted something that was HIS.
Preferably a cat.
This is the part where I silently sang praises to the rogue actions of Sean’s immune system that cause misery in the form of itchy eyes and a runny nose whenever he’s in the same room with a cat. Because, honestly, the last thing I need is a cat.
Besides, they secretly kind of creep me out. I don’t understand the draw of owning an animal that seems intent on expressing the fact that it is too good for you.
So, I apologetically told Noah that it just wasn’t possible to get him a cat. And it’s ALL DADDY’S FAULT.
Of course, that didn’t change the fact that I’m a sucker at heart. And I can remember being that age and feeling the same way. Somehow, when you’re little, the family pet isn’t the same as having a pet of your own. I called Sean (aka: Mr. Heart of Stone) and told him about Noah’s birthday wishes. I quickly pointed out that I had no desire to be responsible for another mammal but, well, what would he think of a lizard?
To my amazement, Sean was ok with the idea. I took the most flack from my mother, who thought that the dogs and ferret were enough for me to have to take care of, especially with a fifth kid on the way. Which is logical and fair enough. Of course, I could also respond to that in two words—guinea pigs. Because when I was that age and wanted a pet of my own (as did my older sister), my parents looked past the fact that we had two large dogs and two cats and got us guinea pigs. Which are noisy. And poop a lot. And have sharp teeth, should they choose to bite you. Which makes them a lot more work than a lizard (even if they did eat food that didn’t have to also be fed…). Moving on…
I took Noah to the pet store and asked him what he thought of the leopard geckos. And that is why, for the past month, I have heard constant reminders that we would be buying him a gecko for his birthday, because that is what he wants the most—even more than an iPod.
As fate would have it, one of our local pet stores is having a sale on leopard geckos right now. My parents agreed to lizard-sit until Noah’s birthday next week. So, last night, before going to church, I bought a gecko.
I had already set up the terrarium the night before, which ended up costing a lot more than the stinkin’ lizard (no small part of which was the need for additional living quarters and food for the crickets it will live off of). It seems to be doing pretty well so far.
This morning, I fed it three crickets and was fascinated by how easily it caught them. My boys are going to think that it is the coolest thing EVER (a fact that was confirmed by the flock of Cub Scouts that surrounded me at church last night asking what it was, what it ate, why it has holes in the sides of its head, if they could touch it…).
So, for the next six days, I have a secret. Well, assuming that none of those Cub Scouts spill the beans on Sunday (I’m counting on the age difference to save me on this one).
I’m not sure which one of us is more excited for his birthday to finally come.