In our family, we love animals. There are also a lot of allergies in our little family so our pets have to be as hypoallergenic as possible. Over the years, I have had 6 rabbits, a mouse, 6 guinea pigs, several Betta splendens, a gerbil and two Siamese. Andrew had a rabbit briefly, however a new home was found for him because we developed allergies. :-( We didn't have a pet for a few years because we didn't want to get one and have to give it away again. Then we got our dog, a Scottish Terrier/Poodle mix named Bailey. He is wonderful and has brought us so much joy! Well, when Andrew wanted a pet we had to look at what kind of little critter we could get that I'm not allergic to. That didn't leave much. We settled on a Mali Uromastyx, and she is just the neatest lizard!! Matthew is now campaigning for a small Russian Tortoise, and I think it will work out. He'll have to earn everything, just like Andrew did, of course.
A few weeks ago our little Uromastyx, Sweetie (full name to be revealed soon), wasn't doing well and needed to see a vet. Reptile vets are not particularly easy to come by, but we found a great one not far from us. I made the appointment and Andrew and I took the lizard, in her traveling bag, off to the vet. Upon arrival and filling out the paperwork, I learned that the lizard's full name is: Sweetie-pie Elizabeth Borgmeyer. It turns out, poor Sweetie wasn't getting warm enough in her enclosure even though we had everything set up like we were supposed to. And, we weren't feeding her correctly either. We learned a lot that day about exotic animals; just 'cause the breeder told you one thing, doesn't mean that's actually the best thing to do. And, Pet Smart doesn't have a freaking clue about proper care for a Uromastyx, which makes me wonder about their advice for other critters...but that's another blog altogether! We were sent home with a course of antibiotics, hypodermic syringes, a lesson in how to administer the antibiotics, and new feeding guidelines, as well as the type of heat emitter she needed to have. Wow!
Today was our follow up exam for Sweetie. We met with a different vet today and had yet another fantastic experience and learned even more!! I noticed that the vet kept picking Sweetie up and examining her cloaca carefully, and he explained that although her coloration was clearly female, her "parts" were rather ambiguous and could be indicative that she is actually a he. The vet showed me what he was seeing and why he was questioning Sweetie's gender... Andrew was then wondering if we needed to change her (his?) name, even suggesting "Stan" instead of Sweetie... but the vet and I explained that the actual gender didn't really matter because the name was already established, so why change it.
During this whole conversation I was suppressing the giggles. Only we would have a gender-bending lizard. On the way home I called Gus and let him know how Sweetie was doing, and then we got the giggles over her (his?) "gender identity crisis". Andrew, who is quite sensitive, was not particularly happy about Gus and I giggling over it all. I explained that when we got home he and I would have a conversation about why Daddy and I were sharing a laugh, and that we were not laughing at Sweetie or her gender, whatever it may be.
When we got home Matthew played on his DS while Andrew and I had a conversation that I certainly never thought would be sparked over a lizard! I asked if he was familiar with the term "homosexual" or "gay" and what did he think that meant. He gave me a great answer, that it meant someone wanted to be with someone else of the same gender. I told him that was correct, and we talked about some of the struggles people in those positions deal with, and how as Christians we need to live as Jesus taught us, to show people who we are by our love, to not judge others, and to be kind to those in our lives and in our world regardless of who they love. To my dear, compassionate Andrew this was only a logical way to do things, and when I explained that many wave the banner of religion and say and do horrible things to people who are homosexual he was truly appalled. He looked at me with shock and asked, "Why would people do that?" All I could say was, "honey, I don't know."
I can tell you that honestly I'm not particularly fond of seeing two men or two women kiss. It's just not my bag. I am not saying that they shouldn't be allowed to kiss, I just don't wanna watch. But if I do see two people of the same gender kiss I'm not going to get all crazy and tell them to stop. I'll just turn my head. Why should someone not be able to express their love for their partner based on my preference? I can just turn my head. I don't stare and gawk at hetero's kissing, so really it's not a big deal. Hand holding, the intimate conversations, what have you, to me I see it as something nice, it's two people who want to be together and are enjoying each others company. And, if they do kiss and I don't want to see it, well my neck does this neat thing, hey everyone's does, and it turns so I can actively choose what I do and don't look at... Maybe we should start reminding people that just because they don't want to look at it doesn't make it wrong, and that their necks turn, too!
When Matthew gets his tortoise it'll be interesting to see what conversations that inspires!!