Friday, September 1, 2006

What I learned today . . .

So, yesterday I was helping out in kindergarten again -- what fun it is, really. Kindergarteners are so great! But, a 2nd grade teacher wasn't feeling well so they called on my to sub for her. No problem.

I found my kids at lunch to let them know what to do and where to meet me after school since I wouldn't be at their classrooms waiting. Ruthie was holding their classroom pet, Checkers the guinea pig. She is madly in love with Checkers and her teacher lets the kids take Checkers out before school and at all the recesses. Ruthie is usually the first one asking about it. :) We had just told her that we would get her a guinea pig. While I was talking to her, I took a chance to hold the lovely Checkers myself. What a sweetie -- she snuggled in and nibbled on my finger (very gently, it's a guinea pig thing) and then I handed her back to Ruthie. This was about 12:15 or so.

I taught for a little while and then went to lunch. I'm sitting in the staff room about 12:45 and my eyes are getting itchy. It takes a while to register and then I realize that I'm having an allergic reaction and my eyes are probably bright red and starting to swell. Damn. I go to the bathroom and sure enough. So, I head up to the office and ask for any meds. Amazingly, they had allergy eye drops but I had to call Greg for more help. I went in to start teaching the 2nd graders. They are all on the rug listening to me.

"Hey guys, do any of you notice anything funny about me?"
A few puzzled stares -- this could be a trick question -- some "no"s and finally one kid looks at me and says, "Yea, your eyes are all red!"
So, I explained and said that Mr Miller would be bringing me some medicine so that I'd feel better. They were great about it. And that's what happened and it was all good.

Except that on the way home, I had to tell Ruthie.

Let me tell you that making your daughter cry is not a great way to end a day. Poor little thing. She was heartbroken.

We aren't giving up though. We'll have Checkers come home and see if just having her in the house will affect me. If it doesn't, then we'll try going to the store and holding guinea pigs until we find one that I don't react to. But, Ruthie knows that might not work. To be honest, I'm very doubtful. Even with all the meds on board, I ended up getting the initial stages of an asthma attack that evening. I think we need to start looking for a different pet now.

Greg figured it out. He thinks that we'll end up getting our next dog all the sooner because we can't have a guinea pig and Ruthie is so sad about it. I don't know about that but I do know that he can't hold out when both of us are crying like we were this afternoon. It really doesn't feel good to disappoint a wonderful girl like that.


Jo said...

Wow! So much going on. Congrats on the motorhome, the A, kindergarten and the kids being back in school. Sorry about the allergy. The fact that it seemed to bring on asthma is a serious bummer. Hopefully we can catch up this weekend. Love ya!

Susan Gets Native said...

Not to butt in or anything, but...
Before you say "eewww" hear me out.
Have you considered a pet rat? They cause less allergic reactions than guinea pigs, they don't bite like guinea pigs and they are way cooler and smarted that guinea pigs. We have four. (We started with two, but the female got into the male's cage...did you know that rat whoopee takes only 2 seconds? Well, the female had two babies)
Anyway, they are clean, affectionate, smart, fun, and just fun. Males are more laid back and cuddly and females are more active and hyper and fun to watch. (But females go into heat about once a week, and they get kind of jumpy then)
And they come in a lot of pretty colors: Black, white, black/white, champagne, white, tan, and a mixture of all those.
so there's my unsolicited input!

LauraHinNJ said...

I have 2 Guinea Pigs and think there is something peculiar about their fur - it feels very oily.

Maybe you'll be able to find one that doesn't bother you. Of my bunnies only one has fur that irritates me - not sure why - hers looks the same as all the others, but it sure does make me itch!

-llm. said...

Thanks for the feedback. We are hoping that a different Guinea Pig may not cause a reaction -- we'll hunt around some. However, I did have to start using my asthma inhaler today so I can't say I'm feeling hopeful about it.

As for rats, we both agree that they would make a great pet buuuuuut we have wild rats around here that we regularly have to trap and it just feels really weird to have a pet rat when we are killing wild ones. Sorry if it upsets you that we are killing the wild rats but we've had them get into the house and that's just more than we can handle.

We're still considering options. Poor Ruth is still totally enamoured of the Guinea Pig, Checkers though. I'll post a photo of the kids with the little allergen factory tomorrow.

Susan Gets Native said...

It doesn't bother me one bit that you are trapping wild rats. We trap and kill wild mice that are getting into our basement. (Electronic traps rule! They electrocute the little buggers and we leave them out on the fence for our resident red-tailed hawk.
I hope you can find a pet you ALL can live with!

-llm. said...

That's right -- I love that you feed them to the hawk! That's so cool!