Sunday, 29 August 2010
I am now the custodian of two baby terrapins. How did they end up here? I'm not even that fond of reptiles!
My 5-year-old niece, Ting, came to stay over last night. She had been looking forward to the sleepover for months, she was almost too excited to sleep.
Before we went to bed, we discussed about the things we could do the next morning. I promised to bring her to the pet shop nearby to look at the cute hamsters and buy a stuffed hamster toy as a souvenir.
I gave her a cup of warm Milo (sans milk) and we sat out in the garden, looking at stars and airplanes. She started coughing during bedtime. I've always known that she's allergic to cow's milk but I wasn't too sure about Milo.
It's been years since I've looked after a young child, I must admit I got rather anxious. I gave her some warm water and quickly pat her to sleep, resisting the urge to call her father. Thank goodness she fell asleep quickly. I was the one who had trouble sleeping all night.
She's an early riser like me. Even before the sun was up, she asked if we could visit the pet shop. We finally brought Rusty out at 8am and made a detour to the shop.
The shop owner's eyes lighted up when he saw her, "Woah, such a pretty girl. Her eyes are so bright and beautiful!"
Then turning towards me, he said, "She can't be your daughter right?" What was he implying?!
By now, Ting was no longer interested in hamsters. "Can you buy me that small yellow bird."
"No! You can't have the ($60) bird!" I exclaimed.
"Can I have a terrapin?"
I've already denied her a hamster and bird, so I played the good aunt and bought a pair of baby terrapins. Ting trotted out of the shop with two terrapins in a plastic tank and a big smile on her face.
On the way home, reality struck. She turned and asked me, "Can you keep them in your house?"
"Huh? Why? For how long?"
"Until I am 6 years old. Because mummy and daddy say I can't have any pets at home."
"Then why did you ask for them in the first place? I'm not sure they'll still be alive!", I chided.
Actually I had already planned to leave them at my parent's home. That way, when the nieces get tired of looking at (and after) them, we could release the critters into our pond.
Seeing her pained expression, I promised to keep the terrapins with me. Meanwhile, we were supposed to keep this a secret.
When I met up with her parents later in the morning, I had to let the cat out of the bag. They probably think I'm too indulgent but Ting is allowed to keep the terrapins at grandma's house.