A Little Girl and Her Dragon

Some little girls dream of princesses and knights and castles and unicorns. Not my little girl. My child dreams of dragons. And this weekend, she got her very own dragon. A bearded dragon, that is.

Now, if you know me, you know that I have a stock of horror stories of lizards chasing me when I was younger. They would pop up wherever I was, inside or out, and scare the living daylights out of me. Once I almost fell down the stairs because of one the devils. So, you might be wondering why on earth I would allow one to live in my house, on purpose. And that reason is Kahlea. While my story is about dragons, we must take a detour to monsters.

You’ve heard my tales of the disaster that is Kahlea — this and this and oh, wait, this. It’s been an eventful year to say the least. So, when I yelled at Kahlea for not allowing me to put on her puppy bumper one morning, it wasn’t all too surprising that she peed all over the living room. What was surprising was when Story, holding the bottom of her pee-soaked shirt out at arm’s length, said, “Maybe Kahlea would be happier with another family.” I held my breath.

A couple of days later, when Remy was pinning Kahlea to the ground for the hundredth time of the morning, Story spoke up again. “Why does Remy bully Kahlea?” I answered, “That’s the way German shepherds play.” She frowned and said, “It’s not fair to Kahlea.” “No, it’s not,” I ventured. She scooped up Kahlea and left the room.

Later that night, she came downstairs, upset. She told me she’d been thinking about it, and she wanted to give Kahlea to a family that had small dogs. I almost peed myself with excitement, but sensing that a giddy bubbly outburst wasn’t appropriate, I simply told her to think about it some more to be sure. We discussed what that would look and feel like, and she retreated to her room to think. I may have done a happy dance when she was out of sight.

She slept on it and made her decision: Kahlea would go back to foster to try to get into a home where she would be happy, and this, in turn, would make our lives easier. Believe it or not, after all my whining, I have been racked with guilt ever since. I even put off contacting the rescue, and once I finally did, it took half a day to get up the courage to press send on the surrender forms.

But Story wasn’t done with me. She wanted another pet to ease her sorrow of giving up Kahlea. I was thinking puppy; she was thinking lizard. She put me in an impossible situation: which monster do I choose? I talked to Lora, our family creature expert (a bearded dragon happens to be one of her docent animals at the zoo). Apparently, they bond to people. Who knew?! I talked to my mom, and the exchange went like this:

Me: Story wants to give Kahlea back but wants a bearded dragon. This child challenges me constantly!
Mom: Hahaha! What are you going to do?
Me: Cry?
Mom: Hahahaha! [She often laughs at my pain.] Okay, weigh the pros and cons. No more Kahlea or … ?
Me: Or nightmares for the next ten years.
Mom: There is something to be said about facing your fears. It would be a good life lesson for Story.
Me: To give up when you get tired of a family member?
Mom: No, we’re just going to ignore that part. To face your fears!

The pros and cons list made the answer clear. On Saturday, we added Rocky to the family. I suppose I should be grateful actual dragons don’t exist. Don’t tell Story, but he is kinda cute.