Friends that I might not talk with everyday - but friends that whenever we do get together, especially when we're without our children, we can easily sit and talk until 1 AM when they turn off all the lights in a restaurant and kindly request that we leave.
Every few weeks, since our children were infants, I've been getting together with three other triplet moms for regular play dates, and it has been absolutely awesome to watch all of our children grow up together. But due to preschool schedules and job schedules and travel schedules - it has been several months since we've last met.
So today, people held children out of school - I took some time off of work - and we all rode the Amtrak train up the beautiful coastal town of San Juan Capistrano.
We exited the train, crossed the tracks, and there was the most adorable little petting zoo I've ever visited. It's called, "ZooMars." If you live in Southern California, I would highly recommend a visit. There are ponies, goats, cows, turtles, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs and a nice playground / picnic area.
You could buy small trays of food for the animals, and almost all of the five-year-olds (all 12 of 'em) were perfectly content to sit and play with the guinea pigs and rabbits the entire time we were there.
Sure, they liked the rabbits well enough.
But what they really liked were the guinea pigs.
At least for Carolyn, she was content to forego lunch, pony rides, and anything else the zoo had to offer. All she wanted to do was sit and play with the guinea pigs the entire three hours we visited.
And the whole way home, all I heard was, "Mommy? Can I get a guinea pig?"
"Mommy? You know what I'd REALLY love? A guinea pig!"
"Mommy, I think a guinea pig would be really fun for our family."
"Mommy, I LOVE guinea pigs."
"Mommy? Can I have a guinea pig?"
"Mommy? Mommy? Mommy? Mommy?"
Driving from the train station back to our house, all of the children fell asleep in the car. When we pulled in to the driveway and I woke them up, Carolyn looked around bewildered and asked, "Where's my guinea pig?"
When she realized we didn't have any guinea pigs with us, they all cried. And cried. And cried. And sweet mercy, you've never seen such sadness in a child. There were real tears. Not the fake kind that they squeeze out when I make waffles for breakfast and they really wanted pancakes.
This whole wanting a pet thing has been building for quite some time, with the girls, especially. They really want a dog, a cat, a bunny, a hamster - heck, they'd settle for a fish. So a lot of people might have seen this terrible distress in their child and thought, "What kind of monster deprives their child of a pet?!" and swung their car around and driven straight to a pet store.
But I didn't.
I told them to get out of the car and get inside FAST because we're having pizza for dinner and I didn't want it to get cold. Also - I've got a predicament: I'm not too keen on having another being in this house that poops and which I cannot deduct from my taxes.
Although we once had two dogs and two cats, I just don't feel the same overwhelming desire to have pets anymore. We live in a small space and the thought of having one more thing that I'd be responsible for feeding, cleaning up after, and worrying about doesn't sound particularly appealing. Especially since supporting such a life form that only lives five years and can't take care of me in my old age, has absolutely zero return.
EXCEPT, it would make my children incredibly happy.
And I am a sucker for seeing my children happy.
Tonight, I had the most smooth bedtime operation I've ever had in my entire life, or at least the last five years and four months. Tonight, all I had to do was say, "If you REALLY want a guinea pig, then you need to eat your dinner, clear your plate, go take a bath, get in your PJ's, brush your teeth and get right in to bed without ANY problems. If you can do all of those things, I'll THINK about it."
The words hardly left my mouth and our house was transformed in to a military academy. For the first time that I can remember, the children not only did everything I asked of them, they actually took it upon themselves to get HENRY ready for bed. And that's when I recognized that they have a lot more potential than what I've been giving them credit for. They can get their baby brother in a diaper, brush his teeth and start a load of laundry?!
Kids, tomorrow you'll be changing the oil on the van. Don't even try to tell me that you can't do it. I know your little hands are the perfect size to unscrew that recessed filter cap.
So maybe I'll play this "If you really want a guinea pig..." card for a while.
Or maybe the children will totally forget.
Or just maybe, Charlie and I will crack and we'll assume the responsibility of two more little poop machines. Two, because after the girls told me they had names picked out, I did some research and have learned that guinea pigs are social animals, so you'd never want to buy *only* one.
Yep, I'm a sucker alright.
Here's to hoping they forget. Otherwise, the guinea pig cage will be suspended from the ceiling because there really is no place else for it to go.