Sunday, August 1, 2010

Debating with a Twelve-Year-Old

The grandkids want a pet.  Well, to be specific, they want to adopt a stray kitten that has been meowing incessantly at my back door.  Not gonna happen.

I gave in when my own two offspring begged for pets.  Being quite naive, I allowed them to adopt two kittens from the same litter. One for each of them.  Turns out there was a male and a female.  Much to my surprise and horror, animals have no boundaries in regards to all things incestuous.  Not to mention I thought the kittens were still too young to be having sex.  HA HA HA HA!!!!!  We soon had an entire litter of kittens.

HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I still can't believe I was that naive.

Anyway, back to my current situation.  Both kids have been begging to take in this sad little kitten.  I keep saying "NO!", but it falls on deaf ears.  I have stressed the importance of ignoring its meows so it will eventually move on to a kinder, more accepting neighbor.  Yet they (and the kitten) continue to try to wear me down.

Not gonna happen.

So this afternoon as we were running errands in heavy traffic with my husband at the wheel (never a good combination for my peace of mind), the twelve-year-old (who I butt heads with regularly) asks me if I'm in a good mood.  I remind her I'm never in a good mood.   She says "nevermind then", to which I reply, "If I was in a good mood, why would you want to ask a question that you know is going to ruin it?"  (Sounded logical to me.)  I encouraged her to go ahead and ask whatever it was that she obviously knew I wouldn't appreciate, and to please not waste any theoretical good mood I might someday have.

"Can we keep that kitten?"  "NO!" I said.  "Why not?"  "Because I don't want the responsibility of a pet!"  (Yes, I was yelling but only because I've answered this same line of questioning six billion times just this week.  With two different people.)  "But you let Mama and Jaclyn have pets!"  "Yes", I said, growing ever-more frustrated.  "I'm supposed to be traveling at this stage of my life, not worrying about pets!  I don't want to have to board a pet every time I want to take a trip."  "That's not fair!  Why did Mama and Jaclyn get to have pets and we don't?"  "Because things are different now.  Life isn't fair."  (At this point I thought an analogy might help her understand.  Again, I must laugh at the naivete I possess.)  "I didn't get to travel or take vacations when I was a kid, but all my friends did.  That wasn't fair, either. And now I want to take trips without worrying about pets."  "Yeah, but you were poor.  That's why you couldn't take vacations!"  "Yes", I said, "and that wasn't fair to me!  It wasn't my fault we were poor, but that's how life works."  "But that's different!  You were poor so that's why you didn't get to take vacations.  Why can't we have a pet???"

There's a reason savvy parents combine the phrases "No" and "Because I said so".  You just can't argue with kids.

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