Bugs and Rodents and Our Growing Petting Zoo

So, guess what we got…

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That’s, right, friends. Meet Gus Gus, our adopted longhaired hamster. Now, before you freak out (like my husband did…), let me tell you that I have been lobbying for a hamster or guinea pig for the kids for almost a year now. So, this might seem like a last minute decision, but it has been on the discussion table for quite a while in our house. And when my sweet friend, Jessica, mentioned that her girls had outgrown their pet hamster, I jumped on the chance to adopt him.

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Jessica was ready to just give us the hamster and all his belongings, but I asked if she would have her girls set a price for him. That way, my kiddos would have something to work towards. Her daughters eventually settled on $30 for everything – hamster, cage, bedding, food, toys, ball… the works! It was a steal!

The first thing the kids did was go check out their beads. In our house, nine beads equals $5 and when they added it all up, they had $15 in bead money that I cashed out for them.

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Then they turned to their piggy banks. Each of them were responsible for the remaining $7.50 of the balance. Bean had it in dollar bills from his piggy bank that he had saved from his birthday money. Gracie had only change, so we took it up to Publix and I showed her how to put it in the change counter. She took her little receipt up to customer service and collected $11.35 in cash. She gave the $7.50 towards the hamster to me and then got to keep the other $4 in her piggy bank.

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With their money in hand, we stopped by Jessica’s house on Friday afternoon to pick up Gus Gus and the kids have basically not put him down since. I’ve been especially shocked by Gracie’s bravery. She just scoops that little dude right up and totes him around like he’s a stuffed animal, snuggling right up to him.

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Bean has been slightly less confident. He didn’t like the sudden movements Gus Gus made whenever Bean went to pick him up. But today, Gracie went over to a friend’s house for the afternoon and Bean hung out with Gus Gus all by himself for a few hours up in his room. He built him a maze to crawl through and carried him around for a while without Gracie constantly asking to have Gus back. It was pretty good for Bean, who needs time to warm up to things on his own.

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Also in the pets department, we got Gracie’s shipment of caterpillars to start her little butterfly growing kit that she got for Christmas. Sadly, when the caterpillars arrived, they were dead as a doornail. We think they cooked in our mailbox in the Florida heat (sorry, caterpillars). She carried the cup of dead caterpillars around for a few hours, insisting they weren’t dead but just sleeping from their trip. By Friday morning, though, she gave up and we threw their cup away.

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A friend of mine told me that you could get caterpillars for butterfly growing at the farmers market here in Orlando, so we loaded up on Saturday morning and Gracie picked out a big, fat caterpillar that will turn into a monarch butterfly. He ate a ton this weekend and then this morning, we found him on the top of the little glass container he came home in. We noticed just tonight that he is already starting to make his cocoon! It should take a few more weeks and then our butterfly will emerge!

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So, we added a bug and a rodent to our menagerie here this weekend. I feel like I’m living in a copy of National Geographic. Any more beings around here and I’m going to start piercing my ears with bowls and walking around topless.

You’ve all been warned.

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