Posted by: deadmousediaries | May 14, 2012

Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow up to… a Mother’s Day reflection from Mitchell Kyd

It’s Mother’s Day and it’s easy to reflect on what it’s like to be a mom. For me, it’s been the best job I never knew I wanted. Even though I’ve discovered that you never truly get a vacation day and the cash payout at the end of week is somewhere around negative $400, I am one of the billions of moms everywhere who loves my work. We know “Mom” is the most powerful and influential job title in the Universe.

One of the perks of this job is seeing your own character and life choices reflected in all the little mini-me people who are watching your every move. All of it, the good, bad and the ugly, comes back to remind you that by design or by default, you are teaching and shaping your kids every day.

I’ve been getting some interesting playback on that in recent months from my daughter. That qualifies in all three categories: the good, the bad and the ugly.

For instance, I was raised in a critter-loving family and because that’s what I learned, that’s what I’ve taught my kids without thinking. We had horses, steers and at least 14 dozen yellow cats during my own mom-in-training years, along with assorted chickens, ducks, rabbits, and hamsters. When it came to the wild things, I understudied with my dad who always stopped to move box turtles across the road and relocated black snakes rather than dispatch them when they got too close the house.

After watching my husband bring me box turtles from our back 40, my son thought he should do the same thing with the snapper he found crossing the front yard. While a dozen shoppers and a security guard pranced a perimeter in a mall parking lot as a large black snake took a break from the hot asphalt by basking in the shade of a parked car, my 12-year-old daughter walked up, picked him and up and asked if we could keep him.

Why am I shocked that now that my kid works in a pet store, her bedroom looks like a zoo? As it turns out, I am living with Dr. Doolittle.

If you read my New Year’s story, you’ve already met Birg, her bearded dragon. He came to live with us after a tank of red fish/blue fish and the hermit crabs arrived. He dines on live crickets with a side of kale. Mason, the 18-pound puppy she rescued two days before Christmas, now weighs 80. He joined Charlie, the border collie with the broken leg that she had rescued two years earlier. They eat everything in sight.

In January, one of the pet store canaries looked sick and started losing his feathers; he was moved to isolation. Then he was moved to the Mitchell homestead. Two days later his cage mate got sick and she too, was moved to isolation and then of course, to our house. They were sick, all right. Love sick. At our house, Gwen Canary presented Gary Canary with four tiny eggs – all in a neat little nest lined with Gary’s tail feathers. The young troubadour is clearly still entranced by his mate despite the assault on his plumage because he woke me again at 2:00 this morning with his vocal acrobatics. I don’t know he blends his trilling into such a beautiful serenade without waking the rest of the house but he is hopelessly devoted to the lovely Mrs. Canary.

Izzy was already settled in at our house before she and I had a formal introduction; I met her in my living room when she was presented wrapped in a beach towel. I couldn’t see her face at first but assumed she was something soft and fuzzy based on the way Katy was cuddling her. Wrong. She was tangled in terry because her claws and powerful tail are lethal weapons. With her lime green and orange scales, she is turning into another beautiful lady but she wasn’t so pretty when she came to live with us. My kid happened to be at work the day a family called in about their sick iguana that needed a new home. To Katy, that meant our home.

When her dinner is served, Izzy rummages with intent through her salad bowl to gobble up her favorite treat first, the ruffled dark leaves of kale. A refrigerated can of Iguana Bites means there’s gourmet fruit paste for dessert. Her healing and rehab regimen includes regular iguana spa treatments, complete with two kinds of heat lamps. Under Katy’s gentle care, she raises her head, closes her eyes and tunes out the world like a buddhist monk for her daily sprtizings of Pedialyte.

If a well-intentioned customer brings in a robin that’s fallen from the nest, it is my kid who drags it home for that all-important feeding vigil despite the fact that not every story has a happy ending. When Chubs came to us, the tiny handful of rabbit started on a diet of fortified milk called Cat-Sip that was delivered by syringehas graduated to alfalfa – and kale.

Last Sunday I watched a man unload a a rabbit hutch, a wire pen, a litter pan and a bucket of extras onto the grassy spot outside her pet store. Even as he stood next to his van and cuddled a huge French Lop bunny, it never occurred to me I was watching another Dr. DoTooMuch adoption in progress. As soon as my daughter got off work, the bunny and all his earthly belongings went into the back of her Jeep. I hope Mr. Honey likes kale; it will shorten her grocery list.

On Wednesday, she jumped out of the Jeep with a small plastic container that looked like it might contain something yummy, potato salad or some fabulous fruit dip, maybe. Sadly, no. The clear plastic lid allowed me to view Feegilow, the juvenile leopard gecko. Feegilow’s family had returned him to the pet store as the result of an unfortunate detail. Literally. His tail fell off. Apparently the market has gone soft on used geckos and you can’t retail them (Can you wholesale them?) so of course he needed a new home. Fahrawri, the adult leopard gecko had to come along home as a role model. According to Katy, Feegilow is at impressionable age. I certainly don’t want to interfere with the psyche of a wild thing; one wrong move and I suppose it could be Godzilla gobbles up Japan all over again.

I know I should be happy to see that my maternal instincts have been passed on to my progeny and that my daughter’s reflections of me are well-intentioned (if not well-funded). She had a reasonable explanation about the two geckos joining the menagerie: her critters are going to make me rich she says. According to Katy, as long as she keeps dragging stuff home, I will have fodder for my stories. Consequently, she is only thinking of me with each new rescue. Wow. What an altruistic kid I’ve raised. She has apparently inherited her mother’s ability to sling the bullshit, too.

With my apologizes to Waylon Jennings for editing his song title, I think this Mother’s Day story has a moral and it is this: Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to work at the pet mart – as long as they are still living at home!

To get a look at some of the players in the Mitchell menagerie, visit us all on Facebook at DeadMouseDiaries. Please “like” that page if you do!

Copyright 2012. Mitchell Kyd. All rights reserved.

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Responses

  1. Sounds like you have a full house. To funny.

  2. Love the story……I can only imagine what her room must be like. Too funny!! Blessings to you. K

  3. Another beautifully written, descriptive narrative on the Happenings at the Mitchell Household…Ms. Katy is right, she will make you millions. And what a lovely way to do it.

  4. GREAT as usual … keep them coming, dear Yvonne.


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