I picked up my son from school about a month ago with this exciting news about getting a new class pet. He just couldn’t wait to tell me about it. “We’re going to get a guinea pig!”, he exclaimed. I was totally happy for him about getting a pet that I didn’t need to take care of. It sounded like a great learning tool for the whole class. It teaches care, responsibility and structure.
The following week, the teacher shared a photo on the ClassDojo app of their new pet guinea pig, Squeakers. She was so cute and I just knew that my son would fall in love with her.
Then, there it was… “Mommy, (teacher) said we can take Squeakers home for one weekend. The permission slip is in my book bag”….umm…what?…NO! This is supposed to be the class’s pet, not mine! I had to think about this thoroughly. Okay, it’s only for one weekend, I can’t possibly mess this up too badly. But then again, I know myself all too well. Too many hamsters walked the pearly gates due to starvation in my care when I was little. I’m surprised I haven’t killed the fish yet. Do I really want to be responsible of letting down a whole class room of children, including my son?
After convincing myself that it will be fine, I signed the permission slip. I don’t want my son to be the only child in the classroom that didn’t get to take home the infamous rat. It would break my son’s heart if I didn’t do this and also manage to pull it off in the end. So, a few days later, the teacher reached out to me about picking a weekend to take Squeakers home. We settled on the second weekend of February. I officially marked that as dooms day on my calendar and tried to mentally prepare myself until then.
Then, it happened, we finally took the guinea pig home! Her cage was big and bulky, but we managed it. My son’s face really was worth it all. Plus, she really was cute and kind. Once we got home, she started to trust the situation. She began squeaking loudly and in different tones. The little sounds she would make were so adorable.
Then, I looked over everything that came with her, such as her bedding, food and hay. The teacher included a checklist and a list of different fresh foods to feed her. I appreciated the instructions, because I was obviously clueless in what I needed to do. However, this looked like a lengthy list to me, and I’m more of a “monkey see-monkey do” type person. Instructions overwhelm me, but I had to get this right, because I just know this teacher will totally judge me for my lack of following directions.
The next day, it was totally up to us to take care of this thing by ourselves, and by us, I definitely meant me. I put on the gloves and started to clean the cage. “Ty, do you use all of the bedding or some of the bedding?”, I asked my son. “I don’t know, I don’t clean it. I just feed her hay”, he replied….Oh, I see how this is going to go.
Well, I figured he wasn’t going to clean the cage, so I tried knocking out two birds with one stone. I figured her and my son could use some extra bonding. After 5 minutes of chasing this damn thing around the cage trying to pick it, I finally got her securely in my hands. Then, I put her on my son’s lap. His smile grew ear to ear, and I knew he was truly in love with this sweet genie pig. That was totally worth it to me. It was such a special moment where my son was bonding with another animal. She really brought him joy and it really made me mirror his smile. This really was a great experience for him. She just loved staying snuggled on his lap where she felt comfortable and safe. It truly was a sweet moment. Then, after sometime we tried to get her to walk around the floor. I wanted her to explore and get comfortable. Then she relieved herself on my kitchen floor..Yup, she’s comfortable now, that’s when I knew she had to go back into the cage.
After two days of having her, I grew very fond of her. I didn’t like the constant clean up, so I can’t see us getting one for ourselves in the future, but we enjoyed her while we had her. I loved having her around to pet though. Honestly, I did enjoy her company and seeing her every morning. It was kind of bitter sweet when we took her back. We walked her into the classroom before the children showed up for the day. She squeaked her sweet sounds as we pet her. I pet her a nice farewell. The teacher came in with smiles to see her guinea pig happy and all in one piece. She asked how it went and I expressed the joy she gave us.
“Let me know if you want another weekend with her”, the teacher suggested. I laughed out loud and then replied, “I mean..yeah, I’ll let you know”