So, my daughter just brought home a pet tarantula.
It’s an oxymoron, right? The words “pet” and “tarantula” do not belong together—ever.
But those two words have obnoxiously combined in my household in the form of a big, hairy, scary, creepy creature with fangs which we now care for as if it’s perfectly normal.
First, you must know I’m not okay with this.
I HATE spiders.
I did not approve the acquisition of an arachnid as a family pet. In fact, when my daughter repeatedly begged for a tarantula for months I gave an unwavering “No! Not a chance. Ever. Nev-ver.” Even when she played the “I’ll buy it with my own money” card, I trumped it with the “I have final say on purchases of electronics and pets because I’m the mom” card.
My kids are getting older and more independent, but they’re still legal minors so I do have some power over them—or so I thought.
The trouble is my children have a father and he holds fifty percent of parental power. Well, actually more because the kids like him better since he’s a big, nice, softy spoiler which is awesome when it’s my birthday, but awful when his daughter brings home a pet spider.
My children get their animal-loving/hoarding tendencies from him and his big freaking heart, so he just can’t say no when his other daughter comes home with a kitten she saw near the highway on her way home from work and she couldn’t just leave him there helpless. (Yes, we got a new kitten this week too.)
Don’t get me wrong, I like animals—zoo animals, other people’s animals who don’t jump on me, lick me or chase me on my bike, and animals in a pet store we can just look at then leave. My children accuse me of being an animal hater, but that’s not true or fair.
What they don’t understand is the responsibilities of parenting my own litter of biped mammals with opposable thumbs and smart mouths maxes my nurturing, cleaning and funding capacities. After their needs are met, there just isn’t much left in me to care for beasts further down the curve of the Circle of Life. Besides, how much of a hater could I be to have allowed five horses, four gerbils, three dogs, five cats and seven fish tanks in our family pet history?
So I wanted to draw the line at pet spider. Does that make me such a horrible person?
But I love my daughter and, though I don’t understand it at all, she loves her new pet spider. And my husband keeps tearing at my heart with crap like, “It’s almost the end of her childhood. Let her have her fun.”
My concern is what happens when childhood ends for all my kids pretty soon and they leave home and all these critters behind at my house. I have nightmares that eerily resemble “The Brady Bunch” in Hawaii episode where Peter wakes up to find a tarantula crawling up his chest.