For years, we had goldfish. I'm not sure goldfish even count as pets, except I remember having quite a collection when I was a child, so they must count for something. At first it was the three plain old goldfish from the school carnival, and soon I began collecting fancy ones with double tails, bulging eyes and various colors. This is more or less how the goldfish collection grew in our home and with my children, only I managed to keep them all confined in one tank and never exceeding five in number.
I've always loved animals. My mother always said I might die of anxiety if left in a room with a mosquito or a fly, but lock me up in a cage with tigers and lions and I would be just fine. She pretty much hit the nail on the head. I've also always possessed this uncanny ability to attract stray animals. So, with my soft spot for just about anything outside the insect realm and my animal magnetism, I found it very difficult to hold steadfast my decision not to have pets (save the won-at-the-carnival goldfish) once I had children.
Fast-forward five years post baby #1. The kindergarten classes at our school hatch chicks or ducklings as part of their life sciences unit. They do this every year. The chicks are kept for a week or two and then shipped off to the farm, where they likely turn into something you pick up at the store for dinner. My husband started working on me right away, asking about the chicks, what happens to them after they hatch, where they might go and whether or not the teachers might be willing to pass them along to a nice home where they might be kept as “pets”. Well, I knew exactly where that conversation was going, so I nipped it in the bud, at least for that year. The same conversation came up two years later when our son was in Kindergarten, but hubby did not persist since there was also a new baby in the house. Eventually, that baby went to Kindergarten where they were still hatching chicks.
Do the math and you'll figure that my husband must be a very patient and persistent man. I'm not sure anyone else would have waited six years for the opportunity, but he sure did, and boy did he work the right angle! All it took was one dinnertime conversation. He timed it just perfectly. His eyes lit up and he wore a contagious smile as he posed the question “Kids, what do you think... wouldn't it be fun to have chickens?” to which the children need not have responded because their expressions had written in them every hope, every wonder and the inkling of distrust that crossed their hearts and minds at the thought that this might be nothing but a cruel trick.
To make a long story short, of course, the children wanted to have chickens. They pledged to help take care of the chickens, they promised to help build the coop, their father swore an oath in some kind of slow-cooked tomato sauce to prepare everything before any fowl laid a feather on the property, and by the power of Democracy and words I was certain would not hold water, I had been defeated. In two weeks, I would be bringing home the six balls of down that would send me on a downward spiral.