Letter to Camille: 61 Months, Part 2

A Girl and Her Guinea PIgHello again, my sweet bear! We are now halfway through our second week of kindergarten, and it has been a bit of a bumpy ride – but that’s not what this letter is about. Things have finally smoothed out enough that I can focus on something else – like more of the adventures we’ve shared over the last couple of months.

For a long time now, you have been wanting a pet. We have our cat, Luca, but unfortunately she’s not much of a pet. She’s a biter and a scratcher, which is why she now lives on our enclosed sun porch. Even though you’ve been on the receiving end of her abuse several times, you are still so kind to her. You love to help me feed her, you want to buy her cat toys, and you’re downright giddy when you pet her and she purrs. You’ll often tell me how much you wish Luca would be a sweet cat. Me too, girlie. Me too.

In doing some online research about kids and pets, your Daddy and I began reading more about guinea pigs. They seemed a good fit – they’re small and don’t require a lot of room or as much exercise/attention/care as a dog, but they’re friendlier and easier to handle than hamsters or gerbils. They rarely bite, and many of them can be quite vocal, purring and whistling for their human companions.

We ended up deciding to adopt a guinea pig rather than buy one from a store. I won’t get into all the pros and cons, but we chose a guinea pig from someone who’d lost interest in caring for it. He is a beautiful Abyssinian with fluffy swirls of brown and white hair. And he was absolutely terrified when we snuck him into the house after you’d gone to bed the night before your birthday. As soon as I put his new wooden house into his cage, he scurried inside it and I wasn’t sure he’d ever come back out.

We surprised you with your new pet guinea pig when you woke up, and you were super excited. You also had to be very patient too as we tried to give him time to get used to his new surroundings. Undeterred, you sat by his cage reading him stories, talking to him, bringing him toys to look at, giving him hay, making art to hang on the wall by his cage – doing whatever you could to make him feel at home. You named him Piglet.

Reading to PigletThankfully, he’s warmed up a good bit since that day. We take him out of his cage often, and when you sit on the couch and scratch his back he rewards you with purrs and chirps. Hanging out with PIgletWe are now on the hunt for a guinea pig harness, because you have all kinds of plans for taking him on walks around the house and in the backyard. Piglet is lucky to have you.

PigletPiglet SnuggleHere’s a video of you on the morning of your birthday when you met Piglet for the first time. It also includes photos and video from your awesome birthday party at Monkey Joe’s later that day.

You’d been talking about having a Monkey Joe’s birthday party for a long time and for one main reason – the birthday throne. You love bouncing at Monkey Joe’s, but the real appeal for a party there is that the birthday kid gets to sit in an inflatable chair in the party room. Genius. I love this pic of you holding court from the beloved throne as your friends gather ’round before we cut the cake (which, by the way, was decorated with an image of your favorite stuffed pink apatosaurus, Pinkie).

In the Birthday ThroneThe Party PeopleThe CakeJust before your birthday, we had the chance to vacation in Florida with your Uncle Jeff, Aunt Michelle and cousins Stella and Jane. This was the same trip we took last year when you broke your collar bone and we had to cancel the bouncy-house we’d rented for your 4th birthday party. I’m glad to report that no bones were broken on this trip. Instead, lots of great time was spent on the sand and in the surf.

Heading to the BeachIn the SurfHugsSweet JaneCousins on the PlaygroundAlso in the last couple of months, you and I experienced a first together. We both ran our first races.

Your Daddy and I began running this year, and it wasn’t long before you asked me to take you on a run. A bit of context – you love to run when you play, but you’ve had more than your fair share of scraped knees in these five years. Not only do you fall and scrape your knees a lot, you freak out each time it happens. Because of this, we forbade you from running on concrete. Run all you want in the grass or dirt, but on pavement – take it slow.

So it was with great trepidation that I took you on your first run down the sidewalks of Ardsley Park. But thankfully, without the distraction of other playmates, you were more focused o
n the path before you and did not fall.

Running Through the NeighborhoodRunning with you was so fun, and a huge departure from my typical trudge through the neighborhood. I’m usually focused on my pace and distance and less aware of my surroundings. But you stopped your run every few feet to point out a flower, someone’s name carved into the cement, a bumblebee and anything else that caught your eye. You reminded me to take more time to enjoy our neighborhood on my runs and appreciate more than the calorie burn.

When I signed up for my first race, a 5K, you really wanted to race too. Luckily, there was a 1-mile kid run as well. On race day, you were excited as we pinned your race number on your dinosaur shirt and took off for the baseball field. The race began and ended at Grayson Stadium, where the Sand Gnats play. While I ran my 5K, you and Daddy did the kid run which took you around the outfield and across home plate. While I hated missing your first race, I was so glad Daddy took good pictures.

Gnate the GnatGo, Camille, Go!Finish Line!You had a fabulous time, and soon after, you began organizing races on the playground at school (which you won, according to you). Now, whenever we encounter a nice stretch of grass you like to take off running, pumping your arms and legs with so much determination and – I might add – actually going pretty fast. There are a few more races coming up with kid runs this fall, and I think you and I may be pinning some more race numbers on our shirts before long.

How lucky I am to share all these adventures with you. How lucky I am to have you, and I love you so much.

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