There is something equal parts joyful and concerning about watching your not-quite-two-year old try to hug his bath water. On the one hand, here is this kid who just loves being alive and wants to enthusiastically give everything a hug; on the other hand, he’s hugging water that I’m eighty percent sure he’s peed in. -Andrew Hachey
I do not love animals. In the same way that I’m not a very big fan of other people’s children. I wasn’t born with a natural inclination to love all babies, nor all things covered in fur. Or feathers. Take your pick.
Somehow, my children love both. Babies. And baby animals. And not-baby animals, as long as it is from a safe enough distance. And though I’ve witnessed it on multiple occasions, it will probably never cease to amaze me, the way each of them lights up, completely differently, in the presence of live cuteness.
On Sunday, it was a baby in church sitting in the row ahead of us. Truth be told, the girl was probably only a few months younger than Carter, but Eliott couldn’t seem to get enough of her, and the little bows on her dress. It was bizarre and fascinating and for the first time in a long time I wondered how much genetics could really be at play in situations like this.
Yesterday, it was chicks, and chickens, and horses, and a three-legged dog, and a kitty. Oh, and don’t let me forget the lizard that Carter cried big alligator tears for until she got to go give it a special goodbye for the day. And I have to admit, it is pretty cute.
When everything stays outside, I can also admit it is pretty cute that Eliott and Carter are in the habit of making pets out of worms and caterpillars they find in the yard. Even more cute is their genuine concern when such pets keep dying, even with all the care given to recreating a natural habitat for them in sand buckets. (Worms don’t like the sun and caterpillars can’t be squished and dropped so much, I keep saying to no avail.)
People are always telling me, “You guys should get a dog.”
No. No we should not get a dog.
We should get a minivan.
I’m finally ready for a minivan. But I’m not ready for a dog. And I never want a cat.
So for now, it will have to do, to have friends who are willing to let my children terrorize their pets for two to three hour intervals, once in a while. And I will play along, exclaiming when appropriate, “Yes, he is a cute kitty!” I will repress my shudder when I’m forced to pet the cuteness. Then we will go home, where I will adamantly and relentlessly promise my children, “No, we cannot get one.”