About a year ago, my husband went out-of-town for a couple of days. Before he left, I asked what he thought about getting the kids a pet fish. His exact words were, “One fish, keep it simple. Just one.”
The next day, when I picked the kids up from school, I announced that I had a surprise for them. As I drove the short trip to the pet store, the two of them tried to guess what the surprise was. Pulling into the parking lot, one of them exclaimed, “We’re getting a puppy!”
“No, no, we’re not getting a puppy. But we are getting a fish!” The last part was said with a great deal of enthusiasm as I sensed my plan was about to backfire triumphantly. I was right. They both burst into tears.
My oldest daughter explained her tears with a wail, “But you can’t (sniff, sob, sniff) cuuddlleee with a fiiiiiish!”
“I suppose that’s true. Well, we can dry our tears and go get a fish or we can go home without a pet.” They decided a fish wouldn’t be so bad after all.
So, keeping my husband’s words in mind, “one fish, keep it simple,” the two no-longer-crying little girls and I marched into that pet store. Where I immediately bought two baby guinea pigs, of the “not fish” and “definitely not simple” variety.
Fast forward one year. My husband has mostly forgiven me, although he has implemented a firm No More Livestock Ever policy. Our non-fish pets have become part of the family. Even though there is nothing simple about cleaning out a guinea pig cage, I’m actually quite smitten. I mean, yeah, they’re rodents. Rodents that you keep in the house. But you CAN cuddle with them. So, we have that going for us. In fact, I’ve found that guinea pigs have several advantages…
Top 10 Reasons Guinea Pigs are Easier Than Children
10. Guinea pigs don’t whine about having to eat fresh vegetables. In fact, they beg for fresh vegetables.
9. Guinea pigs aren’t allowed at grocery stores. Children are.
8. To guinea pigs, hay is the most glorious thing in the world. For $10 a bag, you can make them jump for joy every day. You can’t feed hay to children. Not even for breakfast. I checked.
7. Sure, they pee on you sometimes but have you ever spent any time with a child? I think you’re picking up what I’m throwing down here.
6. All you need to bribe a guinea pig is a small carrot. Try to get your kid to do something in exchange for a single carrot. Good luck with that.
5. Sure, guinea pigs will hide from you and squawk and carry on a bit when you try to pick them up. But you will never have to argue with a guinea pig about doing its homework. Or what it’s going to wear to school. Or how much TV it can watch. Or what kind of shorts are appropriate in public. Or when it can wear makeup. Or…sadly, I could do this all day.
4. Guinea pigs never ask if they can have a sleepover.
3. Guinea pigs like to be in their cage, they prefer it even. Kids get really pissed when you put them in a cage and the authorities tend to get involved.
2. You can’t just change your child’s name if you regret your choice. Not without an expensive legal process anyway. You can change your guinea pigs’ names daily and they won’t be offended in the least.
1. Speaking of names, you can call guinea pigs fun things like “The President” and “The Prime Minister.” Which affords you the opportunity to make amazing statements such as, “The Prime Minister peed in his food dish this morning,” and “The President bit The Prime Minister’s butt and made him squeal again.”