Our oldest child has been very interested in animals for years. She insists that she wants to be a zookeeper when she grows up. But until this past Thursday, she had never had a real pet.
Last week I found two parakeets, their large cage, their toys, and their food all on sale for just $40 (craigslist, of course). I had a little extra money from their grandmother, so I used it to buy the children the parakeets. While the birds are "part of the family", they mostly belong to our oldest child, in that she is in charge of cleaning the food and water containers and giving the birds fresh food and water every day. I can't wait until she discovers the fun of cleaning the bottom of the cage. Will she decide zookeeping isn't for her after wiping up enough bird turd?* Only time will tell.
* I still like parenting despite the dirty diapers, so maybe cleaning cages won't kill her zoo ambitions.