Never trust a teenager

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Never trust a teenager

500 Words: Cringe

https://open.abc.net.au/explore/65187

When
the talk turns to pets and, in particular, the joy of guinea pigs, I
cringe. I know exactly the direction this conversation is
headed.”We had guinea pigs,” one of my children will
offer. “Lots.””Really?””Yes. We had
Mambo and Cupcake.””Lovely.”“And Rocket and Flash
and Bambi.”“Goodness!”“And Marshmallow and Misty and
Oreo.”“That’s a lot of guinea pigs.”“And Jellybean and
Clover and Lulu and…”“Hang on, how many guinea pigs did you
actually have?”And here I can feel a full-blown cringe coming
on because I know the answer to that question.I feel my face
tingling with beetroot blush and my breathing getting quicker.“About thirty,” one of my other children will volunteer innocently.“Thirty!”
I feel the veil of shame descend. I
feel the stare of judgement. I am an irresponsible parent and
cruel pet owner.  I mentally bat the cringe away as best I can and
let survival mode kick in. And I know that, once again, I’ll have to
launch into an explanation as to how our family ended up with thirty guinea pigs.My daughter’s boyfriend’s brother kept snakes and
bred guinea pigs to feed to them. So, when my children wanted guinea
pigs, the boyfriend offered to give us two from his brother’s stock –
free of charge.After ensuring that this would be okay with the
snake wrangler, daughter and boyfriend went off to get the guinea
pigs, with the strict instruction that we only wanted either
two females or two males.Soon enough, the two guinea pigs
arrived. The kids were beside themselves with excitement. The
boyfriend assured me they were both girls and all would be well.All
was well, until about a week later, when our female guinea pig Mambo (my children chose the name) presented us with four tiny
babies. Squeals of delight turned to shrieks of terror when our
other female (named Flash) started ‘attacking’ Mambo. Flash was nothing more than a big, oversexed male guinea pig. We
separated the males and females and spent time adoring the growing
babies.The kids felt sorry for the male, so at regular
intervals, unbeknown to me, they let Flash visit his family. Flash,
of course, took full advantage, whipping Mambo and then his daughters
off into the deep dark recesses of the guinea pig cage to have his
way with them.More squeals of delight when more babies
arrived.Flash also became a wonderful escape artist in his own
right and was able to get out of his cage and into the girls’ cage in
a ‘flash’. His sons followed in dad’s footsteps and more
incestuous liaisons took place.Things were getting out of
control. No sooner had one mother delivered babies than another
mother was pregnant.  I wanted to give some of the guinea pigs away
but the kids wouldn’t hear of it. Their patient father built a
bigger cage for the boys and the kids were told under no
circumstances to allow visiting rights between the sexes.They
didn’t listen.More guinea pigs arrived and life with these
sex-crazed creatures was becoming ugly. I arranged to give away
some of the guinea pigs. The children were sad but understood that
enough was enough. Before we were able to give them away, big winds hit
the Bega Valley while we weren’t home. The guinea pig cages were
upended and their occupants escaped into the countryside. The
kids were devastated. My husband and I were relieved.When I
quizzed my eldest daughter on whether she and the boyfriend had
really checked the gender of the two original guinea pigs, she
admitted they hadn’t.Running late to get to our place, they had
grabbed the first two guinea pigs they could capture.

As I say, never trust a teenager.

 

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