When you have children you learn that you really do need to THINK before you speak. Every word you utter from your lips is open for interpretation.
I have learned to work this both ways. Whether one goes to law school or not, parents must naturally have a bit of lawyer-reasoning that kicks in once their babies are born.
Our daughter happens to be that kid who wants to have every animal alive be her pet. She is constantly looking for an abandoned kitten to care for. Every turtle, baby bird, anole, hermit crab, hamster, mouse, rat, guinea pig, chipmunk, dog, cat, bunny is a potential adoptee.
After many vacations we have returned home with hermit crabs and anoles. For several years they have inhabited cages on our counters and in our living room. Our daughter has brought home classroom guppies and snails...both which can multiply like rabbits! We currently own two cats, a hamster, four anoles and fish; we recently lost two hermit crabs...they died, they didn't escape.**
**PARENT NOTE: All the pets in our household must be "quiet" creatures.
Some where you need to draw the line. Although it is great to be able to say YES to pet ownership, ultimately we all know who the zookeeper of the household will be. Someone has to change the litter boxes, clean up poop and throw up as well as regularly feed and water the menagerie. Experiencing the circle of life through the loss of a pet is much better than through the loss of a grandparent, or worse. But I have heard enough "Ooooo, GROSS...I'm not cleaning THAT up!" to know where the line needs to be drawn and who REALLY is going to clean up all the messes.
When a rabbit hops through our yard, an animal radar seems to set off in my daughter. She glows a bit as she hones in on a potential new pet. "Mom, can I have a bunny?" Instead of saying, "NO!" I reply, "If you can catch it, you can keep it."
Last night we were out back with the cats when suddenly one of the cats jumped into the flowers and came out with a baby rabbit in it's mouth. My daughter immediately rescued the cutie-pie baby from the jaws of the proud, huntress. "Mom..."
"Did YOU catch the bunny? I don't think so. Lily can keep it because SHE caught it. YOU need to let it go."