Parents (NOT grandparents, just 'rents!) you'll feel me.
Childless people, you NEED to pay attention.
Today we are discussing inappropriate gifts for children. Specifically LIVE gifts. Seriously folks, unless the little darlings' parent told you, "Go buy my kid a puppy/kitty/bunny/baby chick/pony," DO NOT DO IT.
Yes, pony. No finger pointing, but someone in our extended family wanted to buy J a horse. A HORSE. Horses are cheap. To buy. It's the care, feeding, and boarding that will convince you the horse has a better life than you do since his monthly roof rent is almost as much as yours. I pointed this out, kindly but vehemently, to the well-meaning relative and that was it.
I would love to be able to own a horse for my horse-crazy girl to enjoy, but it's just not in my budget. I'm struggling now to figure out how to pay for horse camp for the summer as it is...
Not all such bullets have been dodged, unfortunately.
One Easter weekend we went to visit my father and his wife. They were out at the barn where they kept their horses, sheep, and other random urban livestock--they live in Houston--and my dad was mowing the lot/pasture with a riding mower with the heavy duty pull behind mower attachment.
He mowed over a rabbit warren (thankfully BEFORE we got there!) With babies. Cute babies, babies old enough to eat real food. Only one survived the mower, though. TES (that would be The Evil Stepmother) rescued the baby bunny and took it in the barn.
We arrived, let the girlchild uno--this was in the late 90's--pet all the critters, have her pic taken with the horses, etc. I went out to talk to my dad. When I cam back to the barn my girl was proudly holding a cat carrier containing (guess!) and telling us all about her own personal Easter bunny.
She gave my kid a baby rabbit.
Guess who had to call the urban animal rescue when we got back to Austin to determine what to feed it, how to care for it, etc.? Yea, NOT the person who gave her the stupid (but yes, cute, fluffy, soft, and scared out of its little tiny mind) bunny that's for sure. Fortunately our bunny was determined to be old enough to be self-sufficient and we picked a favorite park where we like to play that had a lot of wooded trails and plenty of cover and set it free.
Buy me a margarita sometime and I'll tell you the story of how it "mysteriously" (quoting the 3yo here) got out of it's carrier on the way to the park...
My friend, Crystal recently became grandmother to a tarantula in a not dissimilar way, though I suspect her hubs may have colluded on that one since he had big nasty hairy spiders as a kid...
Do not, not, not, not, not give live gifts to other people's kids. Ever. PLEASE.
While I'm thinking about it, ask them before you give their 4yo daughter pink pleather hot pants and real, takes-acetone-to-remove-it-from-the-carpet, nail polish, too.