A lesson in perseverance.
Dictionary.com defines perseverance as steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc. especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. Mia is currently in the throes of the unabridged version. In other words, our daughter is driving us nuts.
For the past few weeks she has been in relentless pursuit of guinea pig ownership. Mia knows the last thing in the world her dad and I want is another living, breathing thing in the house. Our 2-story abode is cute and cozy, but a guinea pig cage will spill us right over into the crowded zone.
Her quest started innocently enough with a simple, "Can I have a guinea pig please?" and has quickly snowballed into daily artwork and long sappy letters begging us to comply (as if 500 pleases is going to get her what she wants).
Mia is smart enough to know who makes the decisions in this family and although she has tried to enlist my help in pleading her case, ultimately she knows I will never be on board because when she is tired of cleaning the cage (by week 3) I will be the grunt her job falls on.
She and I had a few spare minutes the other day, so we stopped by the pet store just to price out what a guinea pig costs. Did you know people pay $30 for a small furry poop machine?
Then you have to buy the cage, food, shavings, water bottle, salt lick, housing unit...and by the way, guinea pigs do not like living alone. Buy them in pairs they say...oh sure, what's one more pig at the inn?
Tom very much wants Mia to understand that just because you ask for something (over and over and over and over and over and over again) does not mean you get it. Flash him a big pouty face? Nope. Cuddling up and saying your his "favorite daughter", ain't happen'n.
(However, I have not heard her turn on him yet and say, "I HATE YOU DADDY!" Now that might be her ticket, but I'll never tell).
The other night Mia cozied up to her dad and got him to watch a YouTube video entitled, "Top 10 things to know about your new guinea pig". I thought maybe she was making some ground...
Mia's latest tactic: Did you know guinea pigs can be litter trained?! (I told her I would not count on training a guinea pig...I thought I knew it all after potty training five kids and a puppy, then puppy #2 came along and shot holes in every angle I had ever used or read about...)
I know as the weeks go on her level of enthusiasm will wane, and that makes me kind of sad because it's really cute and creative how much she wants this little pet RIGHT NOW.
But that's the thing, we (as parents) have to be thinking long term. Guinea pigs [with proper care] can last (live, rather) for up to ten years. That. Is. A. Long. Time. (and a hell of a lot of cage changes).
Sometimes you just have to say no. Over and over and over and over and over again. We can't always have what we want when we want it. Even as adults. Because what Tom and I want most in the world for Mia to get past this guinea pig phase of hers.
And chances are we won't get our wish anytime soon either.