parents

'Buying kids pets for Christmas is a logistical nightmare.'

It was when I Googled, “How to keep a budgie quiet” that I realised I may have been a tad ambitious in my plan for Christmas gifts for my kids.

I want my children to have pets because I am desperate to cut down on their iPod time. I also want to teach them a bit of responsibility.

“How about a bird,” I asked my daughter when she told me she wanted an iPad for Christmas. Her little eyes lit up, then I heard the sound of her little feet running off and the sound of her saying, “Daddy, Santa is getting me a budgie for Christmas.”

One iPad down, two to go.

Seeing as I had committed to a budgie for my daughter I thought I might work the same magic on my son and suggest fish. He’s always been fascinated with the fish tank at his uncle’s house.

“What about some fish,” I said to him. He actually jumped up and down and said, “Like maybe a black one and an orange one and the one that’s yellow and eats out of my hand?”

Boom.

I didn’t win with my oldest child. We settled on a laptop which I figure he could use for school and play.

It wasn’t until my daughter wrote her letter to Santa that I realised what a logistical nightmare giving children pets for Christmas really is.

I rang the pet shop and they have promised to save a blue budgie for me. I’m not sure why my daughter has specifically requested a blue one but it’s seems to be a common colour for budgies so not too bad. They also have a black, orange and yellow fish available for me and a tank big enough to be interesting but small enough for me to carry around from location to location, filter cable dragging behind me.

Where do I hide a fish and a budgie? I can’t wrap them up and put them in the high cupboard until Christmas like the rest of the presents. I need to buy them as close to Christmas as possible, like at night on Christmas Eve. Then I just need to smuggle them into our garage when I get home and keep them happy and alive for one night.

My frantic Googling taught me that if I want to keep Bluebell the budgie’s little beak shut I have to keep the cage covered so the the little bird thinks it is nighttime and doesn’t feel the need to chirp and squawk it’s little head off. With the fish it’s a bit more difficult. I need to ensure I have a power point handy at all times to keep the filter going and then I have to make sure Millie the cat and Sadie the dog keep the hell away from it until the kids get to welcome their new pets.

I started thinking of pets as possible Christmas presents earlier this year when I saw the kids react like this to a cute bird.

Possible? I hope so. Let’s just hope the pets survive the night and my kids aren’t left with an horrific, life-altering childhood experiences requiring years of therapy later in life.

iPads are looking pretty good now.

What are you getting your kids for Christmas? 

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