No Longer Neglecting Our Kids: We Have Pets!

It’s been over a year since I shared that we weren’t ready for the commitment that having a pet required from both the children and the adults in the family. So, in turn, it’s been over a year since some grumpy commenter accused me of cheating my children out of a real childhood and irreparably damaging them because they didn’t have a dog.

Did you know that children who don’t have a pet have no other ways of learning responsibility or feeling love? It’s true. Angry Internet Commenter said so. My children have been deprived for six and four years. The horror. I’m surprised these poor, neglected, un-loved, responsibility-free children have survived this long. Or, until last week.

Because, we now have pets! My poor children are no longer deprived! You met Mario and Luigi this weekend. So how did we end up with parakeets?

Budgie Collage

FireDad and I spent quite a bit of time discussing and researching pets once we moved into the new house. We have the space, inside and out, for the pet(s) of our liking. But the question remained: What kind of pet did we want to start with? It remains a big commitment, no matter the kind of animal you bring into your home. What was the right fit at this time? For our kids, for their personalities, for our home as a whole?


I grew up with parakeets. Or, singular-parakeets-at-a-time, which is apparently “doing it wrong” in the world of parakeets. My first pet, Alice in Wonderland, was a green parakeet. She didn’t last long. I still have a vivid memory of my dad lifting me up to Alice in Wonderland’s cage in my Sunday dress and promptly setting me down. My next parakeet, Pretty Patty, lived for eons. After she turned one, her beak-gender-determiner showed that she was a he, and he became Pretty Patrick. Funny times.



FireDad got way into the research process. He read and read at night after the kids were in bed and quickly surpassed my knowledge about parakeets even though I grew up with them — which is why we ended up with two. Parakeets do better in pairs (or more!) as they are social animals. If you’re going to stick it out with only one, you’re supposed to have them out of their cage lots and lots because your family needs to become their flock. Plus, there was no way we were leaving the store with only one as separate family members fell in love with different birds.


Mario is a turquoise blue and loves me. Luigi is a typical greenish-yellow with an a-typical, gorgeous tail of deep teal, blue and bright yellow. He hates me. He loves everyone else. He’ll sit on LittleBrother’s shoulder. He’ll sit on FireDad’s knee for a half-an-hour. Me? He takes the skin next to my fingernail in his beak and twists. Hopefully he outgrows it as they continue to get used to our family. And hopefully he doesn’t teach Mario this trick. Mario will sit with me, on me or next to me for long lengths of time.


We’re getting used to our pets. The boys are, understandably, ecstatic. They want to help with everything: changing the water, cleaning the cage, feeding the birds, giving them some millet, picking out their new toys and helping get them out of the cage. Or reading to them.

Reading to the Birds

Watching them with the birds has been something special. They’re just so happy, every time they get to hold the birds. Even when they don’t get to handle them, when the birds are just hanging out in their cage, the boys are happy to talk to them, to stand near them, to have a pet.

I feel like we made the right decision waiting until now and choosing these birds as our first pets. It was a hard decision — the waiting and the jumping in and everything in between. But I’m glad we’re here, now, doing this. Here’s hoping we all learn something from this process and have some fun while doing it!


Fitbit Flex Activity + Sleep Wristband

9 Replies to “No Longer Neglecting Our Kids: We Have Pets!”

  1. We had parakeets for a few years before my daughter was born (30 years ago!!). She was a demanding baby and I ended up throwing the cover over the cage to keep them quiet when she would sleep. And I totally forgot about them. Hubby was no better, with less of an excuse because I handled the demanding baby. I’m ashamed to admit that when we did remember them, it was too late. Therefore, no birds for me since.

    Did you know you can train them to talk?

    1. Yes. My husband is determined. The problem is that males are more prone to talking, and as they’re under four months old, we won’t know gender for quite awhile yet! But he just keeps on working with them. He’s a determined kinda guy!

  2. Thank goodness you can now hold your head up in public – you have pets! Too funny that Mario loves you and Luigi doesn’t. Ruby, our dog, worships me. She ignores Hubby and tolerates Charlie.

    Pets are fun but like you, we waited until Charlie was 6 1/2 before getting a dog. It is always better to be sure of what pet you want, will fit with your family and whose needs can be met. Impulse pets are why animal shelters are full.

  3. Lovely!

    Very excited for your new additions! And am impressed that both of you did the research you did before deciding on what pet(s) to get for your family. It’s refreshing to see someone taking a pet for what it is: not only a real responsibility, but a new addition to your household. It’s so important to do what you can to find the right fit.

    Can’t wait to hear more stories about Luigi & Mario!

  4. I love the smile in your sons face in the picture with birdie sitting on his finger. We have blue front amazon and my kids have been amazingly responsible with helping with the upkeep. We actually got her as “my bird” but she has ended up being the best pet we have ever had.

  5. I love love love that he is reading to the birdies!!!

    I didn’t know the reason for all my issues was a petless childhood. I will be sure to use that to adequately explain all my adult shortcomings from now on! ;)

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