When our firstborn son turned six years old, we got him a dog.
It was a sentimental affair, for sure. I was pregnant and I was emotional and I ended up making it into a “moment” like no other. Sniffle sniffle. (See for yourself by clicking on the picture below.)
Then when our eldest daughter was six years old, for Christmas, we got her a dog.
Because we obviously weren’t thinking.
“Not thinking” is what happens when you are in love with tiny people who grow up so fast. All you know…all you can manage to think about, sometimes…is that time is flying by and you’ve got this window of life to do all the things that you want to do for them. Like, FOR INSTANCE, surprising them with a puppy on Christmas morning even though you just GOT a puppy two years ago.
Our little girl is a true dog fanatic, and a Basset Hound had been the dream of her little heart “for her whole LIFE”, she’d been telling us.
So I turned off my brain for the months of November and December and I made and sold buckets of granola to make sure we had that dog under the tree on the 25th.
I’m not gonna lie. It was a “moment”, too, also like no other.
I love it. “Can I sleep with it??” and then my favorite line from little sister, “Aww, why didn’t I get one?!” Precious, sweet, darling memories, even if we had to deal with a puppy after the moment had passed.
Well, as you know, we have four kids (outside of the womb, that is), and when two of those kids got a dog when they were six years old, rumors started swirling ’round these parts, namely, in the upstairs nursery.
For example, that getting a DOG when you’re SIX is the way we DO things, for all time, for every person.
Well, guess what?
Our third child turned six in May.
Did you know that, as you have more and more children, they turn six faster and faster? It’s true.
And for the entire year leading up to this most recent 6th birthday, the sibling group had been discussing what kind of dog the soon-to-be-six-year-old would be getting.
They’d even poured over books about dogs, researching the perfect breed.
And all the while, I quietly listened…
and also I inwardly panicked.
We can’t have THREE dogs!!!
Where are we going to put another dog?!
How much dog food are we committing to here??
We don’t have a three dog yard!!! And I don’t even think I have a three dog heart!!
Sometimes, when I wasn’t panicking, I was just a’thinkin’…
WHY are we even talking about dogs when her favorite animal is a CAT?
Does she even LIKE dogs?
Why don’t we get a kitten?
She has a kitten purse, kitten stuffed animals, kitten t-shirts…
She has no dogs!!! Just cats!
Finally, I broached the subject to my eldest daughter, earlier in the year.
“Can we talk about something and keep it a secret?” I asked her. “How do you think your sister would feel if we surprised her with a kitten and not a dog sometime this year?”
“Well…” she replied, “kittens ARE her favorite animal. But we’ve been talking about a dog so much that I don’t know…”
Ha! MY PROBLEM EXACTLY!!!!
Since that day, we whispered about this possibility behind the birthday girl’s back, mostly because my then 7-year old loves to whisper about secret things.
I wasn’t too worried about it yet, honestly. We’d had some major events on the horizon that had consumed my thought life (like a pregnancy and a husband going to Africa) and I figured that, once those upcoming hurdles were crossed, we’d get to the pet issue.
After all, the big kids didn’t get their first pet ON their sixth birthday, just sometime during their sixth year.
In other words, we had pleeeeenty time to figure it all out.
Or so I thought…
Stay tuned for Part Two, coming soon!!! 🙂