Tag Archives: Me and Thee Studios

For Emma in Particular, Pets Really Do Matter

Last September I blogged about my childhood experiences with pets and the pets we’ve cared for in our home.

In brief, I had 2 outdoor dogs that I neither fed nor played with.  My siblings and I weren’t mean to these animals and my dad was attentive to them, but my mother had been raised on a farm and brought us up to consider cats to be hunters and dogs to be herders.

Our children were not raised on a farm.  They think of animals as friends and companions.  For Emma in particular, Pets Really Do Matter.

 Cute-Hedgehog

We’ve had several pets over the years.  Our family had just survived kitty purgatory last September when I blogged.

A woman I’d taught with knew that Emma had been volunteering at our local veterinary clinic.  She had found 4 kitties and I (Franklin reminded me many times that weekend that this was not a “we” decision) agreed to nurse them for 3 nights until the veterinary clinic opened.

We’d never cared for newborn kittens and learned a great deal from our 3 days in kitty-purgatory.  While he hadn’t been included in the decision to accept the “care for these kitties” challenge, Franklin helped the kids and I make the best of what may well be our worst weekend ever.   We weathered the weekend (with 3 kitty deaths and burials) and were grateful when a more experienced lover-of-cats took the final kitty, Hope, into her home.

I wrapped up my blog with the following paragraph:

Emma turned 12 on Thursday.  Her one gift request was a hedgehog.  I should probably have done more research on the ins and outs of hedgehog ownership before I said yes.  You would think I would have learned a lesson from our weekend in kitty purgatory but again, Emma’s pleading brown eyes tipped the scales.  I’ll keep you posted.

Twix the Hedgehog passed away over night this Wednesday.  She had been abandoned and had lived for 3 years at the veterinary’s clinic before joining our tribe.  She was an old hedgehog when she was adopted, and was a member of our family for 13 months.

Twix was unusually feisty when Emma adopted her.  She would “hiss” and bristle when someone tried to hold her.  It wasn’t long before Twix realized she was well-loved and mellowed, allowing friends and family to hold and play with her.  Emma and Caden treated Twix like a princess.

Twix spend her days swimming in our bathroom sink, crawling on the kids, and “tubing” throughout her kingdom.   She slept on a heating pad guarding her PlayMobile castle inside her 4’x2’ realm in Emma’s room .

Her passing was very quick and unexpected.  We believe she succumbed to Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome, a debilitating condition with an innocuously cute name.

While we were caught off guard by her passing and have shed many tears, I’ve seen a practical side to Emma that clearly marks her as mine.  Having researched Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome, Emma knew Twix would suffer until her death.

Thus ends another chapter in the Smith Pet Chronicles.  Stay tuned.  I’m fairly certain this in not the final entry.

Consequences Really Do Matter

Some weeks are just more difficult than others.

Bailey (a freshman at our local university) often comes home several hours after Franklin and I have gone to bed.   Late one night a couple weeks ago he hit our house as he pulled into the garage.  There was quite a bit of damage to the garage frame and the garage door stripping.

That same week our youngest was invited to our babysitter’s house to work for a little bit of spending money.  When Franklin and I explained that he should save some of his money rather than making a spur of the moment trip to Walmart, Caden threw a fit.  His money was burning the proverbial hole in his pocket.  He was obviously in need of a nap and a wee bit of behavior modification.

As we considered each situation a teachable moment, we were certainly reminded that Consequences Really Do Matter.

consequences

Sometimes it’s painful to watch children as they wrestle with consequences.

As a teacher, I did not delight in a child missing recess; however, I knew that I would not have to say, “You played during work time so you’ll need to work during play time,” too many times before the child made better decisions about time management.

In my final years of public education, I met many parents who were unwilling to allow consequences of any kind.   It was difficult for some to understand that the sting of natural consequences for a child’s minor infractions would be preferable to their child never learning self-control.  Ultimately, consequences of childhood misbehavior pale in comparison to  consequences adults deal with when the offense is more significant.

Growing up I loved the movie The Parent Trap.  I am a twin and I was drawn to the main characters, a set of twin, “tween” girls.  Although they were separated as babies and were never told of the other’s existence, the girls put two and two together at summer camp after several weeks of all out war with each other.

Miss Inch, the camp director, became exasperated with the girls’ constant fighting.  She decided to “let the punishment fit the crime” and put the girls alone in a cabin to spend the rest of the summer together.

Back to our sons.  Bailey had to learn that personal property requires care and attention.  We let him fix our garage frame and stripping, paying for the necessary materials and supplies with his own money.

Caden had to learn that saving some of his money is important.  We collected all of his money and held it for a while in an effort to show him that 1) Wal-Mart on a whim is a want, not a need and 2) saving (rather than blowing every penny on junk) allows you to purchase something of greater value down the road.

How do you use teachable moments in parenting?  Have you found great ways to “let the punishment fit the crime?”