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Teaching Impulse Control – Getting a Guinea Pig

Teaching Impulse Control – Getting a Guinea Pig

Evan’s dream is to get a pug. Since I really don’t want another dog (especially one that sheds), I got to be the dream crusher and say no. Once he realized it was never going to happen, he decided to aim a bit lower. He started his campaign for a guinea pig as soon as we left on our RV roadtrip. While he would have been happy to share the trailer with a guinea pig, I was not. Little did he know, this was going to be a lesson in impulse control.

Over the years, Evan has a lot of struggles with school and behaviour. So often it feels like we meet all of these struggles with punishment. Whenever I can teach with a carrot instead of a stick, I call it a win. Getting a guinea pig has been a BIG carrot. He knew he couldn’t get a guinea pig in the trailer. We had many discussions about them and their care but we didn’t get into the nitty gritty because it was a hard no. He had a hard time with those discussions at first but over the weeks, he got calmer and calmer as time went on.

Once we got home, I knew that the campaign would scale up again. Evan did not disappoint. We arrived home on Saturday and he was pretty sure that he should have a guinea pig by the end of Sunday. We were in the midst of getting our trailer ready for sale so that was not going to happen.

Pricing Guinea Pig Options at the Pet Store

Since I was not interested in making a quick purchase, I had Evan do more research. Within a few days, he could recite what was needed for optimal guinea pig health and care. He made a list of everything we would need for our new family member. Then we made a trip to the pet store to price out all the pieces and parts. He did a budget estimate for getting one guinea pig as well as for two. At the pet store there was a pair of piggies that he LOVED and wanted to take home NOW.

I explained that we don’t make large purchases without comparison shopping. He got into the car to head for another pet store under duress. We soon found out that our second pet store option was much more expensive. Evan wanted to head straight back to store #1 to buy the pair we saw. I explained that Daddy is part of the family too and we need to talk to him before making the final decision.

We headed home and Evan was very sad. He was really disappointed to have to wait even longer. Once home, we talked about who would care for the piggy if we went away. He called our friend Carrie to ask if she would watch the piggy while we were away. She said she would but also suggested a third pet store we should check out.

Today dawned and I had plans in the morning. I wasn’t changing them to go guinea pig hunting. After I was done, I headed for pet store #3. Evan wasn’t convinced we needed to be there at all. However, he’s never met a pet store he didn’t like. We headed in and did some price comparison. They looked in line or maybe a tad cheaper. We didn’t see any guinea pigs, though. We finally asked and they had ONE.

Evan with his new multicolored guinea pig

We headed over and met the guinea pig we now call Gumdrop. She was the only one. She has one foot that is malformed and no one took her home. Evan fell in love with her at first sight. I agreed to bring her home because even though her foot has issues, she is happy and healthy. She is very calm and sings to us with happy little squeals and squeaks.

Gumdrop has taught Evan more about impulse control than I ever could. By delaying gratification, he met a guinea pig he loved much more than the others he met. He is so glad that I didn’t let him get the first piggy he met. I am one happy Mama!

Teaching Impulse Control - Getting a Guinea Pig

 

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