I have a dilemma of the nearly five year old munchkin kind. Last Christmas my sister Helen bought a dog, the chubbiest, cutest, naughtiest Beagle puppy you have ever seen. We all fell in love with Scooby. But Finley, though scared absolutely witless by the boundless, crazy energy of a baby dog, fell head over heels and made me promise that the day he was five (Big boy territory) I would buy him a Scooby of his very own.
So being a lovely Mummy I said Why of course I will Darling... lets call him Scrappy! Because I'm the kind of lovely Mummy who cheerfully agreed to the craziest notion her child had ever had safe in the knowledge that the whole idea would have slipped his mind by the very next morning...
But no-one told me kids are like elephants. No-one told me that a promise to a child is written in marble. No-one said I was actually going to have to buy a puppy and have it chewing up my diddy house and making my whole world smelling of wet dog.
Oooooooooooo noooooooooo. Nobody told me any of that. In fact, and let me digress for a moment here, nobody ever tells me anything other than the stuff I don't wanna hear...
Now it isn't as if I am anti-dog. I love them. I want one as much as Finley does. I'd love a little mate with a waggly tail to lie on my feet on lonely Winter afternoons. Someone to bark at the bogeyman in the dead of night. I would. But let's be practical here. I'm run ragged with one child let alone his four legged friend. I just about scrape enough money together to keep us in apples and underwear and the house is so small that an energetic puppy could be a matter for the health and safety brigade.
And yet and yet and yet... there is a five year old heart at stake here.
So a quick rack of my brains has come up with two alternatives...
1. A Nintendo D.S. This is, you see, the only thing in the world other than a dog that Finley is currently coveting. And though the thought of a grey fleshy little hunchbacked child (God forbid he ends up looking like his computer obsessed Mum!) gives me the heebie jeebies, I am trying to think positively about the educational benefits of this particular piece of hand-held evil.
2. A cat. I like cats. I used to have two. One called Tuna and another called Button. Now I'm dreaming of a fuzzy, fluffy one called Betty or maybe Bettina, to frighten off the mouse that has taken up residence in my laundry room. Something to stroke to reduce my stress levels please!
But I'm not sure a little kitten holds quite the same appeal as a puppy called Scrappy and my Mum won't visit me when there is cat in the house and told me that getting a cat when you live by yourself as one step up the ladder to eternal loony spinsterhood ...
Oh what to do, what to do, what to do!
On the one hand, I know that in the absence of a brother or sister, a little puppy friend would be the bestest gift I could give my babba, and that the lessons in love, responsibility and loyalty that pet ownership provides should not be under-estimated... but on the other, the fussy little, busybody housekeeping fiend I secretly am inside, practically keels over in horror at the thought of dog hair(or even cat hair!) and stinky pet food and all the other nonsense that comes with looking after something I know I'll end up loving with all my heart.
Thoughts please Kids?