My eldest daughter got a baby guinea pig - something she has wanted for ages. The problem is that she is now both in heaven and purgatory - torn in two, largely due to the inconvenient fact that it poos and wees.
She is a very affectionate girl. She would like to take the guinea pig to bed with her, snuggle with it in front of the tv, carry it everywhere - but sadly it leaves a trail of wet puddles and brown pellets. The house is beginning to stink already. So far it has weed on my bed, her bed and her sister's bed. She has tried carrying it around in a cloth, but it won't stay still for a second. All weekend I have been summoning my daughter to clear up a mess here and there, 'it wasn't me!' she says plaintively 'but it's your guinea pig!' comes the now familiar reply. 'OK' she says with a sigh.
Yesterday my husband made a smart run for it, but we are still waiting for the paint to dry. The man who works at the grounds of our local kindergarten is hard at work making a hutch. Last week I asked how much it would cost.
'7,000 shillings' he said. I looked confused, 'You recently made one for my friend for 3,500?' 'OK 4,000' he replied quick as a flash, climbing down immediately. Then I felt guilty, 'How about 4,500?' I suggested. I wonder how it will turn out.
Meanwhile little guinea lives in a cardboard box - that is, on the brief occasions that it is not being carted around the house. We don't know if it's a girl or a boy so we alternate saying 'he' or 'she'. It's called Sooty foot - on account of its black back leg.
Our eldest daughter's siblings beg to have a hold all day. 'No, it's mine' she says crossly to them. 'Don't be selfish!' bellow her eavesdropping parents from a next door room.
One upside is that she has managed to make one of her younger sisters into a personal slave while she is 'busy' holding the guinea pig. It goes something like this; 'Please get Sooty Foot some water, a carrot, some lettuce, ask mummy if....'
Our biggest fear was that our dogs might get the guinea pig in a death grip immediately but so far they don't seem the slightest bit perturbed by the new arrival. What we didn't anticipate was the constant state of heightened emotion - I wonder if it will ever pass?