You may remember that Hallie was lobbying for a guinea pig for Christmas. She had tried to bargain with her dad and ultimately called in the "big guns" by writing a heartfelt letter to Santa.
Joel and I agonized over this. Part of me wanted her to have the best Christmas ever. You know, the one gift so special that all other Christmases pale in comparison?
But the practical side of me reasoned that a guinea pig or hamster will get out of its cage. That's just what rodents do. No matter how careful you are, it will find a way to escape. While I don't relish the idea of a mouse-like creature running loose and unaccounted for in my house, what I was most afraid of is that our dogs would be the one to "locate" the escapee. I just knew that when that happened, there would most likely be blood and fur to clean up and a hysterical, traumatized 8 year old to deal with. And I also felt certain that this would happen while Big Joel is away...leaving me to deal with the ugly details on my own.
As I said, we agonized over this decision. We even found ourselves in the pet store, with everything in the shopping cart except for the actual animal. But in the end, we just couldn't get a peace about bringing another living creature into our home and giving the responsibility for its well-being to a child who can't even care for the cyber-pets on her Nintendo DS because she forgets to charge the device's battery.
So what, you may ask, did Santa bring instead of a furry friend? In a sheer stroke of genius on Joel's part, Hallie ran downstairs on Christmas morning to find Kit Kitteridge, the American Girl doll, waiting for her. Now Hallie has never been one to play with dolls. She has always loved horses and dogs more than babydolls. So it was a huge gamble, but it paid off.
She loves the doll.
And I love that the doll will not get loose in the middle of the night and be eaten by the dogs.