Apologies from a distracted mother

Slowing down your busy life might not just be beneficial to the kids.

THE tears were almost as much out of frustration as they were for the guinea pig kicking me, despite her broken leg.

The morning started out much like any other: feed one child before feeding the baby, swallow own breakfast before washing dishes, getting laundry on line and preparing bottles and snacks before we head off for the morning.

The only difference was instead of banking, shopping and visits to the park, we had a very important kindergym date to keep.

We had missed it the past couple of weeks because of other appointments and illnesses, but I had talked it up this particular morning – getting my son hyped up for the high beams (he likes to hang like a fruit bat).

My newest additional errand was to move the guinea pig cage out of the sun.

The pig – Doris – was a gift to my husband. A concession to allow the number of household pets increase just a little. But I had grown to like her, she was cute and caramel and even my son enjoyed seeing her, even if that meant constant reminders not to open her hutch.

Anyway, I glanced at the bush on the other side of the garden where I had placed her previously and made a decision I would instantly regret to move her down the patio instead.

As soon as I put down her cage, she squealed and I knew something was wrong.

My son stood at the door, his bag in one hand and shoes in the other, he was ready to go. I flicked open the hutch quickly to find Doris had crawled under the newspaper and her little foot had become trapped between the cage wire and the cool hard tiles of our patio – a design flaw I place in the hands of the manufacturer.

But my despair was instant. Scooping her up, I rang my husband to tell him what I had done and to meet me at the vet (next door to his office). In under 15 minutes, I had managed to find a suitable box for Doris, puncture it with airholes, get the toddler, the baby, the bags, the pig and other sundry into the car and pull up at the veterinarian’s (no mean feat in itself).

 While we waited, I explained to my boy that he shouldn’t keep opening Doris’ box as she was sad and needed her rest. In truth, her leg was at an impossibly awkward angle and when disturbed she would kick, illiciting a trill of squeaks and squeals.

During times of crisis, I find I try desperately to hang onto the routine, so was holding onto the hope we’d still make it to the PCYC class. The verdict from the vet was not good. After describing the lengths and costs he could go to, he recommended euthanasia and the guilt just about choked me.

Despite the lump in my throat, I instructed my son to say goodbye to Doris in the hopes he’d understand she wasn’t coming home with us. It only made my tears worse and I spent the last few minutes in the crowded reception fixing up the bill, tears streaming down my face and giving a feeble “aren’t I pathetic?” smile to the staff. They, and the customers, knew I was going home without the guinea pig I came in with.

And as we drove to kindergym, almost 30 minutes late, my son sang sombrely “Doris sad. Poor Doris. Doris sad…”

In the car, behind dark glasses, I continued to cry quietly that my busy schedule had meant the demise of an innocent, cute, little creature.

Had I taken the time to move her that extra few feet she’d still be with us.

But have I really learnt anything? No. I still find myself every morning worked up to a sweat just getting everyone ready in the morning. Though I am reminded to slow down when my son sings “Doris sad” – a song he seems to think I need to hear every so often.


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Aussie Mummy Bloggers Carnival « Candy's Family
  2. Nikki Parkinson
    Jan 07, 2011 @ 12:29:35

    Kids just know what to say or “sing”. So sorry for Doris.


    • petajo
      Jan 08, 2011 @ 03:34:01

      Thank you – do you know what? It’s been months since “the incident” and he still sees that vet’s building and talks about Doris. Just yesterday he told me that we’d “see Doris next week”. (I hope not *shudders!)


  3. Hear Mum Roar
    Jan 08, 2011 @ 00:46:22

    Oh, don’t be too hard on yourself ((HUG)) Sometimes it’s just impossible to slow down, isn’t it?


    • petajo
      Jan 08, 2011 @ 03:37:21

      I know, it’s been a while since I wrote that, so I’ve stopped sobbing over it, but my son still refuses to let me forget!


  4. Christie
    Jan 08, 2011 @ 11:02:35

    What a sad story. It’s so hard not to hustle things along when we need to be somewhere, but it wouldn’t hurt all of us to slow down and breathe at these times. Condolences for Doris x


    • petajo
      Jan 10, 2011 @ 01:48:23

      Thanks Christie – we bought a new guinea pig just yesterday. I’m being super cautious and, of course, the cage has decent flooring now!


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