We’ve had more than our fair share of animals since the children were small and over the years our house has been home to, believe it or not, 7 cats, 1 rabbit, numerous fish and now our latest family member, Leo. For the last 2 years or so, M has been eager to add another pet to our household and not just any pet: he has been very specific about the animal he’s had in mind. I have to be honest and say that I didn’t leap at the chance when he first made his bid, after all I have years of Mummy experience with M’s wildly fantastic and short-lived fads and this wasn’t one I was prepared to indulge unless he was genuinely intent on looking after it for the long haul. I’ve long-held the opinion that our pets have been a massive source of comfort not just for M, but for G and me too, and it was something of a stretch to imagine that this creature would bring the peace that cuddling one of our cats instills in me.
However, M has stuck to his guns and continued to ask for his new pet and finally, back in about October, I gave in and agreed that he could have it and so our plans for introducing a bearded dragon to the household began. Due to the high costs of kitting out this exotic creature, we discussed with M the need for this to be his joint Christmas and birthday present and something we couldn’t just go out and buy tomorrow. I am incredibly impressed by the mature attitude with M accepted this plan, a real sign that my baby really is growing up fast. The first step was to buy him a book about them and he has spent hours reading and re-reading about bearded dragons and how to best look after one. His knowledge about these interesting animals is impressive and he has willingly shared what he knows with friends, family, doctors and nurses alike. Knowing that a GOSH admission could happen any day, we delayed our actual purchase until M was back home and life had settled down to something resembling our normal once again.
With the start of a new year, so also started M’s career as the proud owner of a bearded dragon. I was lucky to discover one on-line that needed re-homing and although I was initially concerned that M wouldn’t be keen on a “second-hand” pet, he quickly leapt at the chance when I was able to reveal that his new acquisition would share his birthday! The dragon’s previous owner had called him Nigel, but M felt that didn’t suit and quickly renamed him Leo. The vivarium was strategically measured and fits on top of the pint-sized wardrobes in M’s bedroom, so M can really take full charge of looking after him. Mike and M have willingly taken on the task of feeding the fresh veg and live crickets on a regular basis, which is just as well as it’s the one thing I have refused to get involved with. M spends time every morning and evening handling and chatting to Leo and is slowly filling his diary with play dates for his friends to come and meet a real life dragon. I must admit that owning a reptile was never at the top of my bucket list or life plans, but will confess that he is strangely intriguing to watch.