My son plays with a bunch of kids in the neighborhood from one family I call “the Gypsies.” Their house is pretty messed up with toys scattered around the front yard, and children being tended by other children. I’m not sure how many generations are in the house but I suspect that the oldest people I’ve seen there, being in their late 30’s or early 40’s, are the grandparents of some of the kids running around. Being somewhat libertarian minded I don’t think too much about their situation. They are nice people and their personal life is none of my business.
Somehow the kids got wind that we had a male guinea pig. They had a female guinea pig and told the Kid that they wanted to breed the two to make guinea pig babies.
My son asked me if I would let them “borrow” the pig for little while, and I said “No.” “It’s just for a few minutes.” Again, no. For several days he tried to get me to relent and I stood my ground. I would not let him take the guinea pig down to their house to “show” them, let alone stud him.
Friday night the Kid asked if he could take the guinea pig outside on the front lawn. I agreed but said that it couldn’t leave our property. So being 11 years old and knowing exactly where I stood on the issue, he consciously defied me and took the guinea pig down to the Gypsies. After I caught him walking back with the pig, he admitted to his defiance.
The Gypsies threw both pigs into a cardboard box, and according to the Kid the female danced around the male a little but he wasn’t interested. I’m not surprised. The pig isn’t the smartest pet I’ve owned. In fact the gerbils I care for show more personality than the pig does even though he’s 15x their size.
We inherited the pig after the Kid got it from one of his friends whose parents were getting divorced a few months ago. There was some deception there as well, since he called and told me that “Mom says it’s okay to get the guinea pig.” I later learned that the Wife had not said any such thing, and had said that we would “discuss it later.”
After I caged the pig the Wife and I grilled him on his defiance. He broke down crying and promised never to do it again. Since it was his first offense and most of our information came from his “confession” I made it clear that he would not be punished this time, but that any future defiance would be punished regardless of whether we obtain a confession or not. I made it clear that confessions would mitigate the punishment but not prevent it altogether. We also explained why we didn’t want to breed the pig, how the parenting skills of the Gypsies weren’t the best (a few days before I saw grandpa/dad riding a ten speed with a toddler on his shoulders; neither one wore a helmet although I’m sure the toddler would have acted like one had he fallen) and we didn’t want to be responsible for being babies into an unhealthy situation. That finally got through to the Kid better than the threat of punishment, and now I’m pretty confident he won’t mess with the Pig again.
He’s 11 1/2. I know this is only the beginning but I am prepared.