Sometimes, Being a Parent Really Sucks

Today was one of those days. A day when we had to do something we never wanted to do, when we had to be one of those parents. We had to say no to a friendship.

I won’t go into details about what prompted this course of action. Bean, when he left school, had few friends. He struck a friendship with a boy who lived in the next street. They became best friends.

We were a bit uneasy about it from the start, but didn’t want to choose Bean’s friends for him. This boy was four years older, which worried us a bit, but mentally he was more on a par with Bean, probably younger in fact, so we let it go ahead.

It was fine, for the most part. There were occasional issues about attitude that Bean learnt from the older boy, but these were dealt with. They played football, and Subbuteo and Harry Potter and it was fine.

There inevitably came a point though when the older boy’s interests developed into areas we didn’t want Bean going at 9 years old. Probably fairly healthy for a 13 year old, not so for Bean.

And so the time came to be a grown up and tell Bean that it wasn’t a good idea for them to spend time together any more. Well, we had to do a bit more than that, and tell him they won’t be spending time together any more. 

We’ve just taken his best friend away and it sucks. It hurts as a parent to do that to your child. He’s grieving for a friendship and we feel responsible.

Sometimes, being a grown up is crap. Very crap.

And then there were ten ….

Last year, before my blog break, we were a happy family of five. Two adults, three children and all was well. 

A little over a week ago, we became a larger family … a family of ten. The children have been desperate for pets and after many discussions and lots of research, we said yes. To five pets. FIVE!

First came two rabbits, two year old lop-earred sisters who needed a new home. The family who was rehoming them had bought a terrier, not realising that a terrier would see the rabbits as dinner. After it killed one of the guinea-pigs, they decided to find a new home for the rabbits.

And we were the lucky family that got to take them on. PK named the ginger one CBeebee and Plum named the white one Olivia. They are fab. Happy hopping around lawn removing the need for Stonelaughter to mow. All is well.

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Two days later, we picked up Bean’s new pets, a trio of gerbils. Sisters. We tried to adopt some gerbils from a rescue centre, but the hoops we had to jump through were numerous and perhaps a little unnecessary. I completely understood the need to check that a 9 year old was not going to have sole responsibility for the lives of three animals. I understood the need to check that the accommodation was going to be big enough for the number of gerbils living in it. But when they wanted to see photos of each and every toy, ladder, house and such, and see them all set up (before they’d even let us discuss adopting), in situ, I gave up. I’m sorry I did, but I did. Gerbils have a short enough life as it is, and these were already over a year old. I didn’t want to spend the next year of their life discussing ladders. Couple that with the fact that the listings they had placed on pet sites didn’t seem to match the animals that they had available and I was tired.

In the meantime, I had received a reply from someone else who was advertising a litter of gerbils. They were young, which meant Bean would have their full lives to get to know them. They weren’t rescue animals but they needed homes, nonetheless.

Bean chose three sisters – the only ginger one in the group, a grey one and a dark chocolate one with white socks. He’s named them Cinnamon, Hardcastle and Shadow respectively.

gerbil Collage

So, these lovely little girls may not have been rescue animals, but I certainly felt like we had rescued them.

When we arrived at the address, there was an enormous dog in an enormous wooden crate behind the front door, taking up most of the hallway.  The house smelt of smoke, and in the front room were several adults smoking, with overflowing ashtrays. The room was foggy with smoke. Also in this room was a parrot in a cage not much bigger than it was, and a reptile enclosure (which was pretty cool) built into the wall and taking up half the main wall. Also in here were two litters of gerbils, aged three weeks apart. They were in small boxes (not cages) with barely any bedding, no water and just a little food. 

It was clear that these gerbils were part of a baby mill. The couple selling them complained that Pets at Home had refused to sell them a mixed pair of gerbils to prevent breeding (good!). I wanted to walk out and not be part of this, but having driven 40 minutes to get there with an excited 9 year old who was desperate to choose his pets, I didn’t feel like I could. I felt caught between a rock and hard place and I’m afraid not disappointing my son won over.

I will have to content myself that they are now in a nice big cage (almost a metre tall) with 3 platform levels, a hanging ladder, 30cm deep of burrowing material and hope that they have a happy life. And I will keep watching the faces of my children who all delight in watching the shenanigans of the gerbils and rabbits.

What Am I?

OK, so it’s a while since I posted one of these. Alright, it’s months since I posted one of these.  The last one was in December, and in case you were wondering, it was the mousepad from my laptop and there were no right answers. I win!

So, sorry about the huge, three month wait for the right answer. I’ll try not to do that again :-)


Prime (d) and Ready

Stonelaughter and I have had membership to Amazon Prime for years now. On purpose.

To be fair, we rarely use Amazon for books but it comes in handy for a wealth of other things that we can’t get locally. Prime has saved us a fair amount of money over the years. The price has been creeping up though, and now it’s around triple the price it was when we first got it.

The reason for the latest price hike is the introduction of Prime Instant Video, something which we haven’t bothered with until recently. It’s a streaming service like many others out there, although I’ve no idea how it compares to others, since we haven’t tried any. We only started using this one because we thought we ought to try and get our money’s worth.

The first thing we watched was the last series of Ripper Street, which was definitely worth the wait. Having seen it, it’s hard to see how the story could have ended before this series, as the BBC would have had it.

Following recommendations from Amazon, we watched series 1 and 2 of Whitechapel and were hooked. So we were a little dismayed to find that series 3 was not included in Prime and we had to pay for it on top of our Prime membership.
We’re currently working our way through Lie to Me, with Tim Roth (my new celebrity crush, but that’s another story). I’d seen it advertised on TV and it hadn’t appealed, but we decided to watch it and are now firmly hooked. 

my new crush!

my new crush!

I love that we can stream an episode each night from my laptop to our TV (via ChromeCast).

There are niggles though. There’s much more available on Amazon Instant Video than Prime Instant Video. I’d naively thought that having paid a small fortune to be Prime members, we’d have access to the whole streaming catalogue at Amazon, but no. They reserve most things for Instant Video, an additional paid-as-you go streaming service. No like.

But anyway, this is basically a rambling post to mention that I really like watching Tim Roth and I wish more of his work was available on Prime. Are you listening Amazon?

And So You’re Back …

…from Outer Space …

Well, OK, I didn’t spend any time on space travel but I did need to be gone from the blog for a while. It was all going so well and then as usual, I put pressure on myself to do too much and something had to give.

So here I am, without that sad look upon my face. I started writing posts in my head again, so it’s time to throw open the shutters and let the light in again. 

I won’t be posting every day. There won’t be loads of reviews of sponsored work. There will be posts. From me. About things I want to write about.  And if people read, then great. And if they don’t, well OK. The important thing from here on is to write. And this time, I don’t want to lose sight of that.


What Am I?

There were no right answers last week – it really had you stumped! It was the pages of diary, side on. Sorry about that!

What do you make of this week’s What Am I?

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