Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Rescue Me, Again
There are three words that, when strung together in a sentence, grate on my every nerve: “Mom, I’m bored.”

My daughter, twelve-going-on-twenty, has learned to avoid the use of this phrase, not because she is particularly mindful about the state of my nerves, but because she’d rather spare herself my reaction; a reaction so predictable she can recite it herself: “I’ve never been bored a day in my life. When I was your age, I was working at the . . . “

She has spent the beginnings of summer break with a phone attached to her ear and video game controller fused to her hand. I was beginning to worry we’d have to consult a surgeon for removal of both. I braced myself for the inevitable “Mom, I’m bored,” while resisting the temptation to launch pre-emptive suggestions as to how she might entertain herself. As any parent of a ‘tweenager knows, the only good ideas come from the ‘tween herself and any suggestion coming from a parent automatically qualifies as a bad idea, born of the stone age and totally uncool.

Finally, she approached me and asked, “Mom, do you think the pet shop would let me volunteer?”

I think we were in the car and half way to the pet shop before she finished the question. I was thrilled she came up with her own solution, even more thrilled it involved actual work and, of course, proud she chose work involving animals. We met with the owner, arranged a schedule and she became an official volunteer.

Yesterday was her first day. I expected she’d phone for a ride home after two or three hours. She happily stayed six. However, she did phone home halfway through the workday. “Mom, some guy just came in asking how to save baby bunnies. He left his phone number and wants you to call . . . “

The second cardinal rule of ‘tweenhood; the one following “No parental idea is a cool idea,” is “Never let on when you are completely excited about something that thrills your mother.” I picked up my little volunteer, who diligently attempted to hide her enthusiasm about the day’s events. She did, however, let it slip that her new boss proclaimed she worked harder and faster than any of his paid employees. I saw her sideways glance as she covertly studied my face for signs of pride. Rest assured, she found what she was looking for.

“So, are we going to help the bunnies?” she asked, as if she didn’t already know the answer. We picked them up from the home of rather intimidating looking tattooed man who was absolutely beside himself with worry for the tiny little creatures found in his yard when their nest was disturbed. His rough exterior all but disappeared as he described his dusk to dawn vigil for a mother rabbit who never appeared.

These babies wont be with us long. Despite their tiny size, they are near the age their mother lets them fend for themselves. But, they were dehydrated and lethargic, so we will rehab them until they gain their strength. After only a few hours, they are looking bright-eyed and perky, thanks to an animal-loving tattooed man and my daughter, who facilitated their rescue.

Did I mention I’m proud of that kid?
Rhonda Ruminated at 11:56 PM | Permalink |

14 Ruminations:

  • At 9:06 AM, Anonymous Beki

    What a wonderful post. Glad your daughter has found such a great outlet.

    Hand rearing baby anythings is tiring but worth it. Good luck with them

  • At 11:25 AM, Blogger Nikki

    You have got to be about to bust from pride. YYYAAAAYYY for your daughter!

    P.S. could she take my daughter to work with her? LOL

  • At 11:34 AM, Blogger 34quinn

    I am very proud of that kid too!!
    What a great story and what a great way for her to spend her time. She can have fun and learn and be helpfull. I guess we will be hearing great things from this child in the future.

  • At 12:15 PM, Blogger Kathy

    Congrats to your young philanthropist. You should be proud, since she is taking after her role model.

    Volunteering at a for profit place worries me a little. What would happen if she were to get injured there? She can't be covered by his workers comp. Sorry, it's the HR person I used to be coming back to haunt me.

    What are her duties?

  • At 12:54 PM, Blogger Rhonda

    BEKI: Hand rearing baby anythings is tiring but worth it. Good luck with them

    As you know so well, caring for your own little critters. Thanks for the luck, they'll need it!

    NIKKI: Yup, I am proud (and she's been driving me NUTS this summer with her lack of interest in anything that doesn't involve a phone). And, we'd be happy to include your daughter, as long as you provide the transportation :)

    QUINN: I'll pass the message on to her. Thanks!

    RENEE: This storekeeper has hosted volunteers for years and years and is well known for taking care of them, though I've never heard of someone getting injured. He has a great reputation with kids and their parents (and it almost guarantees her a part time job when she's old enough to be employed.) I don't have an answer for the legal aspects of injuries, but would assume that, since she is a minor and not employed, it would be my responsibility.

    Her main duty is cage cleaning, feeding and watering. He tries to give his volunteers a job they really like in addition to the grunt work - so if they are into reptiles, he lets them do those feedings. My daughter had fun keeping tabs on a pregnant guinea pig yesterday, so she's going to be spending time in the small animal nursery.

  • At 1:03 PM, Blogger Charlie

    I would agree with Kathy, except I suspect the pet store owner doesn't allow your "little" volunteer access to the white tiger department—I mean, look what happened to Roy.

    And as I sit here, imitating a Rhonda rumination, I'm thinking that working with critters is a whole lot more appealing than with many humans . . .

  • At 1:17 PM, Blogger Rhonda

    And as I sit here, imitating a Rhonda rumination, I'm thinking that working with critters is a whole lot more appealing than with many humans . . .

    The perfect imitation, Pooper.

    When she's 13, she can volunteer at the wildlife rehab center, accompanies by me. That's our next step :)

  • At 3:39 PM, Blogger Attila The Mom

    Wow, what a great kid you've got there!

  • At 10:41 PM, Blogger Kathy

    SO kewl, I LOVE guinea pigs. I fostered a pregnant one when I volunteered at a shelter. She was so funny when she got really wide. You probably already know what it's like, but the babies are so adorable. They are cute, soft as can be, and are able to take care of themselves from birth. I'm so glad for her that she is able to do this, not only to keep busy and learn more, but to feel really good about what she is doing with her time. Not everyone gets to feel like that about their job. It's a great feeling.

  • At 3:53 PM, Blogger St Jude

    It's all started now, your name is out there and it will just snowball from here. Trust me. Good luck with the bunnies, they are so sweet.

  • At 5:53 AM, Blogger Ruth Dynamite

    The apple doesn't fall far from the tree! Love these photos.

  • At 7:42 AM, Blogger Mia

    What a great kid you have Rhonda!

    My son has been asking me about jobs but I keep telling him he is too young (13) for anyone to hire him. I think volunteering is a brilliant idea and will suggest it to him today!

  • At 7:44 AM, Blogger Mia

    PS Can you give a bunny update? Have they gone off into the wild? My guess is they are all hopped up on your love and have thus decided to burrow in the back yard.

  • At 7:52 PM, Blogger Rhonda

    ATM: Thanks. Now, for the other six days of the week . . .

    KATHY: My daughter introduced me to the pregnant pig. That poor thing was as wide as she was long. I felt so bad for her!

    JUDE: I know, I know. I'll probably have very busy springs and summers from now on.

    RUTH: Thanks!

    MIA: The babies are still with us and have graduated from fluids to formula to solids in the last week. We're waiting for them to get just a bit bigger before releasing them.

    And you'll have to let me know what you and your son come up with :)