Thursday, September 10, 2009

Jasper, the class pet

My second grader was nearly shivering with anticipation before his Open House because we were going to talk about his class pet there. I had no idea what to expect and I was terrified. I'm sure you guys read Diagnosis: Urine and remember Ice Cream*. I sat on the floor next to my son's desk praying I wouldn't totally lose my stuff when the teacher made the announcement. "Please meet Jasper our class pet," she said and I sat still staring at the floor unable to look. "Each of my students will be able to take Jasper home," my heart froze, the moment I had been dreading had arrived. If Jasper was a fish, we would kill it easy. I mean we do have one fish that has been with us for a couple of years now, but, he is a freak of nature, a survivor that has managed to stay afloat after several visits to our carpet and more than a few pets, but, that fish is definitely not the norm around here. We had a hamster once, I took the kids out of town for a few days to visit with my sister, my husband forgot we had it and, well, let us just say that it wasn't pretty. I watched a friend's guinea pig one summer when I was a little girl and my dog tried to eat it. I myself have two dogs now and two cats that I know in my heart would love to sink their teeth or claws into something small that would 'eek' in fright. I was was frozen to the spot while memories of furry (and some scaly) companions that had passed overloaded my brain. My heart pounded in my chest, blood poured into my ears and I could hear no more, until my son took my face between his hands and pointed it in the right direction and whispered, "don't you want to see him Mommy, our class pet?" I opened my eyes and saw him. Jasper the class pet is a stuffed bulldog.

Yesterday was an early release day and my second grader bounded in the house apparently weightless under his book bag and what looked on him to be a giant dog carrier. My young man had won the right to bring Jasper home last night. As he pondered what he would be able to write about in Jasper's journal, I was inspired. Granted, my inspiration was in part to due my relief that Jasper was stuffed, but, I decided that we should take Jasper on his first train ride. We got ready, LB, JB, H, Jasper and I. We went to the mall to ride the train, but, once there my son urged me to go to Build-A-Bear to maybe find a treat for Jasper. We went and we found what I think is a perfect accessory for a class pet, his very own book bag complete with pencils, books, and a great report card. Then my son spotted his 'pet' dog Dodger's brother. A dog the very same as Dodger, but, chocolate brown. Then my son explained that Jasper was lonely, he needed a friend to have fun with. I tried to explain that we were Jasper's friends and that we would keep him company, but, it was clear that my son wasn't buying it and that I soon would be, buying Dodger the Second that is. Of course, since Dodger II and Jasper are school friends, I also had to get Dodger II a book bag so that he and his friend Jasper would be ready to learn. Finally we got to go on the train. I took pictures for my son's 'writing inspiration book' at school of the dogs and their special first moments and we rushed off to get them printed.

Today is picture day and my son can hardly contain his excitement to share with his class how he and Jasper spent their time together. I know that yesterday was a good day because before going to sleep, my son came and gave me a special kiss and thanked me for the best day ever!

*Jen's family welcomed Ice Cream into their home and hearts with open arms to stay. Further proof that she is a much more awesome mom than I*


  1. First off, please clarify that by "stuffed" you mean that he came from the shelves of Toys R Us and not from the taxidermist, right?

    And second, why didn't I ever think of stuffed pets? They eat way less, we don't have to worry about them when we go away, and they never poo on the carpets.