Parents Do Everything For Their Kids, Which Is Why I’m Rat Babysitting

nixonHow many articles have I written on this very website about not getting pets? For someone with pets, I sure don’t want any pets. Don’t get me wrong, I love the dog and I love the cat but I sure wasn’t planning on adding rat babysitter to my resume of editor, mom and wife. But do you know who is writing you this article with a teensy tiny little rodent nestled in his soft-sided carrier next to her?

This mom.

The decision to add to our menagerie has been a long time coming. We have had these short people who live in our home begging for a rodent for ages. We have researched this.

Hamsters? Bitey.

Gerbils? Bitey and tiny.

And if you’re going to go for a rodent, you can’t really beat a rat. They are smart. They are clean. They aren’t bitey unless you mishandle them. And they bond with people.

Which is why every-so-often I take this baby out of his portable cage and cuddle him and offer him little bites of strawberry and the occasional sunflower seed.

Even though we made my children vow that this rat (Who is now named Nixon, thanks to my son) would be their responsibility and it was their job to feed him and water him daily and socialize him, I’m with the rat because I felt sad for him being all alone in his TWO-STORY rat cage while the kids were at school.

The fancy rat townhouse was my husband’s idea.

Do you know how many things you can buy for rats? Nixon now has a rat harness even though he is too little to use it. He has toys and chew things and a hammock and a ball he can walk in and fancy organic rat chow.

This rat has a better life than I do.

And I don’t mind to sound like I’m complaining! He is cute! And he is so tiny, and I’m sorry, I do love caring for something tiny and I like when he nestles into my arm and falls asleep. But this baby isn’t just my kid’s baby, he is now my baby too and pets are a big responsibility. I think I sort of overlooked the fact that I would feel terrible for him being alone all day.

Despite the fact that I had hoped if we were going to adopt another pet, it would be something like a kitten, I guess I’m OK with the little rat who doesn’t do much besides sniff things and be.. tiny. And I guess it gives me an excuse to puff out my chest and whip out pictures of my baby when I see other moms doing the same with their human babies.

And at least I don’t have to change diapers.

(Image: My rat)

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