Posts Tagged ‘guinea pigs’

As mentioned, Blitzen is exploring an array of conflicted and heavy emotions right now. And it is playing out, as these things do, in just about all aspects of our life.

One of Blitzen’s odd triggers is cleaning the guinea pig cage. I guess most children who own guinea pigs argue with their parents about cleaning the cage. I get it, it is gross, creating how to videos is whole lot more fun, and you know, the whole childhood – you are not the boss of me – thing.

But with Blitzen, every day parental disagreements are so loaded. So, during our weekly cage cleaning, Blitzen got pretty mad at me. And I told her that I wasn’t interested in being yelled at so she could clean the cage independently or call me when she was ready work together without fighting.

Her response,’You always bail on me. You just walk away. You’ve been lying to me since I was 8. And telling me that I can’t be what I really want to be.’

And I said, ‘Blitzen, what is this really about? I don’t think we’re talking about guinea pigs any more.’

Blitzen yelled, ‘you told me I could never be a mermaid and all I want is be a mermaid. I believe it but you don’t.’

Carrie replied, ‘Blitzen, that doesn’t sound like me. I don’t bail on you, I am here, right now, trying to help. And as for mermaids, some people believe in them and some people don’t. But you can believe it in and I think it is wonderful that you do.’

Oh boy, my poor Blitzen. It really sucks to be in this in between, insecure place.

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Blitzen and I took the day off of school and work to celebrate the day.  And a really weird thing happened – we had an amazing time.  Blitzen and I have never up to this point been able to sustain 12 hours of one on one interaction without some serious blow back.  It was obvious to me that she was trying  so hard – she was so engaged, so polite and pleasant. We actually had fun.

At one point during our adventure (which had a surprisingly low amount of guinea interaction) we were in the shoe department at Macy’s.  Blitzen wears women’s sized shoes now and this is a problem because Blitzen would like to wear stilettos and it is really hard to simply avoid them since we need to shop in the big lady shoe aisle.  We were attempting to find a compromise – a shoe with perhaps a little kitten heal that would feel grown up but not break her ankles.  At one point she sat down, sad bordering on mad but clearly exasperated with me and calmly said, “Carrie, I just feel like you are trying to the take the fun out of everything.  And I don’t see the difference between those shoes and these shoes!”  Well, the difference was about 4 inches of heel but that is not the point.   I responded that I didn’t want to ruin the fun and that I understood that she wanted something different than what I was offering.  Then I found a young, hip sales lady of color and asked her to help us. Well, I don’t think you can tip in the shoe department – maybe you can and maybe I should have — because this young lady brought us every sparkly, gawdy, golden, twinkling low heeled shoe on the sales floor plus some flats.  She went on and on about how high heels hurt her feet and she likes low shoes so she can dance and have fun.  And Blitzen recovered without a single rude word, with no snark or tears, no angry monologues about how badly I suck.

I do believe that it was the Guinea Pig Day miracle of 2014.

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Blitzen really hates going up the stairs in our very narrow, very tall house.  Yesterday, she invented a dumb-waiter of sorts.  Using her easter basket and some purple sparkly yarn, she now raises and lowers things from the second floor landing  into the living room.  Things that were airlifted this morning in one direction or the other:

1) tupperware of guinea pig treats (left over strawberry tops with leaves attached and celery)

2) ipod

3) deodorant

4) stuffed puppy dog

Her favorite part of this invention is getting Andrew and I to watch the action.  “Watch it float down, are you looking?!?”

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Carrie — Blitzen, your guineas are going to live for a long time.

Blitzen — But I really want a dog.

Carrie — Yes, I know.  But dogs are a lot of work.  You have to walk them at least 3 times a day.  You have to pay someone to come walk them while you are school and work, you have to pick up their poop.  And dogs are very expensive.

Blitzen — I’ll use all my money to buy a dog and get it shots.

Carrie — We’re not getting a dog any time soon but if we ever do, we’ll adopt it from the ASPCA.  We’ll get a dog that needs a home and some love.  But we’re really not getting a dog any time soon.  Dogs can’t live here, it is in our apartment lease.

Blitzen — What kind of dog do you want?

Carrie — I don’t want a dog but if we had to have a dog, a small dog.  I would want a small one.

Blitzen — NO Carrie, what KIND?  Would you want another beetle?  (and by beetle, she means beagle).  I want a yorkie.

Carrie — I probably wouldn’t want a beagle again.  They are not very good listeners – they kind of insist on doing their own thing all the time.  (Carrie to herself — and we already got plenty of that going on around here).  But of course they are very loving and they sure do like to be around their humans.  (Hmmm).  But we’re not getting a dog.



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Celebrate y’all!

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Blitzen has been calling her birthday independence day.  As we began preparation for the big 10, we spent a lot time talking about independence and what that means.  It means having the freedom to make some of your own choices, it means doing some stuff on your own and taking more responsibility for yourself.

Blitzen is careful to remind us that just because a girl is independent, it doesn’t mean she wouldn’t like a little company while she is being independent (say like having me sit on the lid of the toilet and chat about mermaids while she is showering, that kind of thing).  But we’re examining the schedule to see what she can do for herself, on her own and we have told Blitzen that as long as she does her work first (guineas, homework, reading practice), she can spend the rest of her evenings as she wishes, pretty much.  We are still trying to limit her screen time but truthfully, she would much rather play than watch tv.  So on at least a couple of occasions, she has turned on the television but then commenced imaginary play. It is amazing how much kids (everyone!!!) want something more when they think it is limited.  She thinks she wants to watch tv all the time but in reality, she would really rather play baby dolls with Andrew or have a story read to her and talk about mermaids.

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Someone asked so I am sharing.  The guinea pigs are doing well.  We had a very scary moment — Lucy got pneumonia, of all things.  When I got home from my trip in November, I noticed that she just wasn’t herself.  We all watched her pretty closely for a couple of days and noted that she seemed to be really struggling.  So we made an emergency appointment at the vet.  And Lucy had pneumonia.  The vet was wonderful and sad as she told us it was quite likely that little Lucy wouldn’t make it.  GP pneumonia is a big deal.

The vet gave us medicine (we administered shots and pills crunched up in applesauce and spread on a lettuce leaf).  We kept Lucy warm and quiet.  Irene was there the whole time, cutely snuggling with her sister and hiding out in the igloo hut, sharing guinea pig love and body heat.  The vet advised taking Lucy into the bathroom during shower time for a little steam treatment.

You will be delighted to know that Lucy recovered.  Blitzen was such a champ — following the vet’s instructions to the letter.  Checking diligently on her pet and being very brave about the possible outcomes and even planned what we’d do with Lucy if she died.  And now Lucy and Irene are getting spunky again, squeaking like mad the moment they hear our footsteps, squealing in guinea pig – gimme some lettuce!

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We had one heck of a Halloween celebration on Saturday before I left town.

First, the agency threw a party and it was mostly great.  They had a haunted house which was not great.  I really don’t know what they were thinking – oh let’s put a bunch of traumatized kids in a room with weird noises and creepy people in costumes that jump out at you as you walk by.  Needless to say, we didn’t stay in the haunted house until the end although we attempted to do it 3 times.  I’ll say this for Blitzen, the kid is not a quitter!  There were many fun, not scary things too – pumpkin decorating (Dasher named her pumpkin Curly Shirley for reasons none of us can fathom and carried it around lovingly all day), cupcake decorating, a little costume parade, spooky stories that were not too spooky, and trick or treating.  All good.

Second, we hosted a Halloween party at our house immediately following the agency party.  I really don’t know what I was thinking.  It was scarier than the haunted house.  But in the end, it was a success.  Both of Blitzen’s sisters came over and 2 of her brothers.  Now interacting with the brothers outside of an agency supervised environment had never happened before. I think all the kids enjoyed it.  We added a couple of Blitzen’s school friends into the mix to keep things lively.  And lively it was – the neighbor came up to complain about the noise twice. Thank goodness for the backyard or he might of called the cops.

Blitzen dressed up a greek goddess (Athena, I think) and added her own accessory – a platinum blonde wig a la Lady Gaga.  It was quite the outfit.  She went around telling people that she was a professional greek goddess. As opposed to an amateur, I suppose.  Originally, she was going to be a mummy but the mummy outfit that we purchased was too itchy, she claimed.  Or perhaps too boring after 2 weeks of wearing it around the house.  So we allowed to her use her own funds to purchase costume number 2.  Andrew explained that it would take an awful lot of guinea pig cage cleaning to earn that money back but she was insistent.  She had to get  a new get-up.  Dasher created her own outfit – a gangster fairy.  Apparently she thought this up all on her own and it was really quite cute – fairy outfit with a little pink biker jacket.  And Dancer was Beyoncé, of course.  The girls all looked great and seemed to have a (mostly – only 2 bouts of crying) relaxed and fun day.

I am sad to be missing the trick or treating fun tonight.  I am glad that not-really-a-hurricane-Sandy didn’t ruin the big, candy filled day.

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We were walking in the park with friends.  Blitzen wanted to go one way, other children wanted to go another way.  I suggested that we flip a coin.  Blitzen got very excited and shouted, “Yes, let’s use my invisible coin.  Do you want heads or toes?”  I really couldn’t help it, I just cracked right up.  “Toes, please.”  You won’t believe it but the invisible coin landed on heads.

On this same trip, Blitzen got her grouch on for a few minutes, pouting and lagging behind and saying, “They didn’t come here to play with me.  They just wanted to see my guinea pigs and the park.”  While Blitzen was lamenting how she had been so terribly wronged, two adorable, excited little friends were calling and calling, “Blitzen, are you coming? Come on, let’s go this way. Blitzen! Blitzen! Blitzen!”  Yeah, clearly it was all about the guinea pigs….

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Blitzen woke up on Wednesday morning, stumbled out into the living room, sleepy and nervous.  Her eyes got wide and she whispered, “OM Boxes!”  OM Boxes indeed.  About 100, if you are counting.

I’ve got some very mixed feelings about the amount of stuff we have – it is kind of obscene. Now, there is a lot of art and a ton of kitchen stuff and books, like boxes and boxes of these things.  In my pre-Blitzen life, I cooked and read a lot. And spent my money on cool art as opposed to swim lessons at the Y and let me tell you, Blitzen had plenty of boxes of her own.  2 boxes of books and a couple more filled with toys and stuff from her room.  In addition to feeling like a very unattractive American consumer, I was faced with the monumental task of packing and then unpacking all this stuff. Thank god that I consider myself way too old and way too financially fit to move all this wonderful merchandise myself — bless you, movers, well worth it at any cost.

We’re probably 3/4s of the way done with the unpacking process and hopefully, will be all set up by Monday or Tuesday.  Blitzen, in a moment of stress during our the move, cried, “It will take weeks to unpack these.  I’ll never find my stuff.”  I don’t know who that child thinks that she has been living with but the thought of living in a less than completely accessible, comfortable, ordered, decorated to my satisfaction home for more than like 3 days, is enough to make me break out in hives.  I do not like mess.  Which kinda makes you wonder why I agreed to parent in what is undoubtedly the messiest of all possible ways, but hey, I am a bit of enigma — ask Andrew.

In the morning, very early, we transported our most precious cargo to the new place.  Blitzen sweetly reassured the guineas that everything would be fine.  She told Andrew and I several times that she thought that Irene and Lucy were nervous and scared.   She spent  the drive (10 blocks) whispering to them about the new apartment and how much they would like it and that it had a yard and on and on.  So we got them all set up in their cage and Blitzen got to choose her new room. This shifted the anxiety balance, a little, and seemed to begin to lighten Blitzen’s mood.

Then Blitzen went off to gymnastics camp for a half day while we loaded out of the old apartment and she was still very, very worried.  She made Andrew write down the address to our new house, twice.  Once on a piece of paper for her and once for the new babysitter.   I just know, that deep down, she was so worried that we were going to move on without her.  And then, of course, the babysitter came to our (empty!) old place instead of going to pick Blitzen up at camp and all hell broke loose.  Crying, screaming, kicking, trying to run off at camp and ‘go home alone, then’ – oy!  But the babysitter, in spite of the mix up, was a rock star – immediately figured out her mistake, jumped in a cab, called camp, called us, calmed Blitzen down – whew!  It was only a few minutes, really, but our little Blitzen likes things to go exactly as planned.  As she once told me, “I only like surprises on my birthday.”  I can relate, kid.

In the afternoon, Blitzen gave the sitter the grand tour of the new place and they began construction on the fairy house.  It is going to be quite fabulous.  They have been working on it a little bit each day and everyone is starting to get comfortable in the new place.

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