ParentMap, May 2006 Issue
Ages & Stages:
Accidental Parent: How I told my child about death
Spotlight on Health:
Media: View featured media
About this issue
“It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care,” was my 15-year-old Eli’s “Office Space” response to my inquiry of why he fails to show affection to our cat Kitzy Kelly Jenny Sulkin. Given that attitude, it’s a wonder that changing the litter box is his most habitual chore. Our 4-1/2-year-old had scarcely opened her eyes the other morning when I heard this raspy whisper, “sell Kitzy.” No doubt this point was appropriately being made after her gentle attempt to pet Kitzy was met with blood-drawing scratches. I won’t even touch on the lack of attachment between Kitzy and our 19-year-old, who so desperately wanted this kitten when she was 7. Her one act of interest was naming her.
Reflecting on our Ages & Stages Kids and Pets section. it’s clear that my husband and I have failed as pet parents. Like most learned behaviors, we were not adequate role models. May I just blame my own fastidious parents who hermetically sealed our furniture in plastic and had a no-pet rule? We grew up with my mother’s large and wonderful family of three brothers and three sisters, dozens of cousins and not one real pet amongst us. We had one turtle that came home with my school-teacher mom for one summer, seven goldfish that lasted less than a week and a brother who was totally freaked out by dogs. You could place a sure bet that if he saw a dog walking on the sidewalk, my brother would unquestionably run to the other side, and that dog, smelling fear, would go right after him.
I applaud animal lovers’ dedication and care they give to their furry family members and what joy it can bring to all, along with many of life’s lessons. I am humbled given my admitted challenge at meeting the essential required responsibilities of life these days: work, getting my own kids cared for and to school, activities and doctor appointments, volunteer work and putting an occasional dinner on the table.
Oh — thank goodness for Mother’s Day!
—Alayne Sulkin, publisher/editor