Tonight I had to laugh at myself as my kids and I wandered in delight the amazing isles of "Petco."
I smiled to myself as I took note of my kids' appearance...because I realized once again that in spite of myself I sometimes become the mom I vowed I'd never be: You know those ones who take their kids out of the house looking like ragamuffins with dirty faces and crazy hair, oh and it's late and those raggedy kids should really be home in bed. I always looked at those moms and thought in my smug youth, "how can they go out like that? Is it really that hard to brush their hair and wipe down their faces?"
Well, shortly into parenthood I realized that yes, sometimes it is that hard. Let's say your oldest child has a fetish with his favorite Suns basketball jersey he feels he just MUST wear and also has a bad habit of wiping his dirty hands on his shirt, and your fourth child (with her hair sticking out in every direction from her fourth ponytail re-do of the day) has just leaned over into peanut butter smearing it on her third clean shirt of the day, and your baby has a cold and goopy eyes and you have wiped her poor chubby face so many times it's starting to chaff, and your third child just went and changed into her pajamas from her swimsuit forgetting that you are going to the pet store for FHE. And as you finish making the last peanut butter sandwiches you're having for dinner (because your husband missed his flight and is still out of town and you don't feel like making anything else) you realize if you don't leave right then the store will close and the hopes of your oldest two children who have been begging (with those sad, pouty "Puss-in-boots-eyes-from-Shrek2) for a pet ever since their Grandfather gave them money to buy one (without asking their parents first) will be dashed if you don't make it in time.
So what can you do besides load those sticky, straggly-haired kids in the car (aside from your second child who miraculously always looks cute because she does her own hair and loads on lip gloss) and head out to the pet store in all your splendid "good mom" glory?
As we walked those isles I'm sure other customers had the same thoughts my young, single self had many years ago..."wow, those are some raggedy kids!" But I took a deep look at each one of them...unruly hair, pajamas, dirt and all...and loved them even more as I watched them oooo and ahhhhhh over the fish, gerbils, snakes, etc. I swear it was like we were at Disneyland from the pure delight on their faces. We have never been to Petco before...little did I know how I was depriving my children.
As the sales lady handed over a hamster to Max to hold I watched his eyes and face fall head-over-heels in love with "Teddy" the hamster (he already has it named). It was all I could do to make him wait until tomorrow to buy the thing...my heart had it bought for him as soon as I saw that look. But we couldn't get a hold of Dave for the final ok, and some part of me felt like it would be good for him to wait. (I'm against immediate gratification when these kids get so much of what they want right when they want it.) And he needs to be sure he's ready to take on the responsibility.
So we checked out with a cage (I had to cut the disappointment of not bringing a pet home tonight somehow!) in anticipation and some very excited kids. Dave called soon after and gave us the green light so we'll be back tomorrow.
I loved hearing the kids' conversations on the way home over their Wendy's frosties. Max: "If someone offered me a Nintendo DS or a hamster there's no question I'd take the hamster." Gracie one-upped him: "If someone offered me a room full of candy or a hamster I'd take the hamster." Now anyone who knows Gracie knows she must REALLY like hamsters to make that kind of statement! Claire piped in that she thought "Golly Joy" would be a good name for a hamster (and she sure had my vote, but didn't sway the others). Elle has decided she likes the gerbils better and wants to adopt some from Uncle Josh after she can prove she's responsible enough with pet #1. Man, are we ready for this? I know hamsters can be really stinky, and even eat each other...gross! I could see in the sales lady's eyes that she was a little worried about our choice and tried to talk us into a rat or a cat instead...ewwww to the first and Dave would certainly veto the second, plus she didn't see that look on Max's face that sold me. I'm banking on studies that say having a pet will miraculously whip my children in so super-responsibility mode.
I don't think there's any backing out at this point. It looks like we'll be adding a new family member tomorrow!