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tell me it is ok to be obsessed with guinea pigs

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
My middle child is obsessed with guinea pigs, although she does branch out to other animals, occasionally. Obsessed - as in spend much of her day online on a guinea pig chat board, looking at pictures of guinea pigs, or re-arranging her guineas cage.

I know US is to blame (or allows her passion - if you want to put a positive spin on things).

I worry about it occasionally. It seems like an obsession. I know if she were in school or HSed in a more structured way she would not have time to obsess over guinea pigs. We are not planning to jump ship, however.

I have also failed, somewhat, to help her expand on her interest base. I called the local SPCA (which is 45 minutes away - we are rural) to see if she could volunteer - and, nope, you have to be 16. I called a cat sanctuary (also about 45 minutes away) and the woman said yes, but then when we would call to scheduel times to visit, she kept putting us off. On a venting note - why the heck is it so hard to find volunteer opportunites where kids are welcome???

I am contemplating calling a guinea pig rescue org 2 hours away to see if we can visit. I know we will not be able to volunteer often - so I wonder if there is a point?

FWIW, she does have 2 guinea pigs.

sigh. It is February, the sun has not shined for more than a day or 2 in months, and I could use a hug. Or advice. or a kick in the USing pants.
Whatever you choose.

kathy
post #2 of 37
This post made me smile, because recently we were looking through old photos, and in many of them my dd was holding her hands up by her chest in rodent-paw fashion. She lived her life for like two years actually BEING a hamster. Like as in all day, every day, she was, in her mind, a hamster.

She is now a normal 12 year old and not at all a rodent.

She was younger than your dd during that phase, (probably 6 - 8) but just as obsessed. Everything revolved around hamsters and her pet hamster was truly her best friend during that time. One Halloween I spent two full days sewing an elaborate Hamtaro (cartoon hamster) costume.

I have fond memories of that phase, she was so passionate and absorbed in everything hamster. I think it really honed her observation skills, she is super-observent with animals and picks up on cues, she recognizes each of our 16 chickens by their voices (do chickens have voices? well, by the sounds they make).

I think the experience of immersion in a passion is invaluable. I don't think there is anything wrong with it, in fact I think having the freedom to be a little obsessed with something is one of the best things about unschooling.

Do you have 4H where you live? Here the rabbit 4-H includes guinea pigs.
post #3 of 37
Thread Starter 
Jumping up and down for joy .....

We totally have 4H were we live. We live in a rural farm belt!

Off to google....

Kathy

PS. Ok I googled, not suprisingly there is one here and I have a name and contact number. I have one concern though, DD is a vegan (her choice - I am an omnivore). 4H is a farming organisation, is it not? DD is opposed to factory farming. I wonder if she would be welcomed there.....

Anyone know anything about 4H?
post #4 of 37
Totally made me smile, too. My 11 yo is very into animals. For about 2.5 years that child didn't walk upright. Ok, I did make her walk properly when we were at a store or something, lol, but otherwise, it was butt-up hands and feet walking. Or loping. I'm not sure what to call it. I remember thinking that it had to be coming from her interest in animals. It was really weird, lol. Especially because she is REALLY tall (she just turned 11 and wears a size 10 women's shoe!) so she was just all long legs and arms, rofl. I had a friend who apparently really thought there was something wrong w/her, but she just didn't get my child. My dd also climbed the walls in the hallway (one leg and arm on each wall), and I think it was her daddy's influence that started that one. Anyway, back on track-sorry...she is highly in tune with animals of all kinds, and can also recognize our chickens various voices (yes, I really do believe they have voices) and wrangle goats and help our dog w/her chronic leg pain, etc....it's super neat.

Some of these phases are really long ones. Mostly they do pass and you look back on them w/fondness. Let her live and celebrate guinea pigs (it's rabbits at our house). Def. check out 4-H. We are going to start next year.
post #5 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
Jumping up and down for joy .....

We totally have 4H were we live. We live in a rural farm belt!

Off to google....

Kathy

PS. Ok I googled, not suprisingly there is one here and I have a name and contact number. I have one concern though, DD is a vegan (her choice - I am an omnivore). 4H is a farming organisation, is it not? DD is opposed to factory farming. I wonder if she would be welcomed there.....

Anyone know anything about 4H?
I don't think 4-H is about factory farming, but I'm really not sure. I need to ask my mom. She was a 4-H leader years and years ago.

There are alot of people in 4-H who eat meat, though. I do know that because they have all sorts of areas in the competition that have to do w/meat animals. I know this because I raise rabbit meat pens for 4-H county shows. But aren't there lots of other areas in 4-H like gardening and such?
post #6 of 37
Our year of guinea pig/rabbit 4H was all about care, breeding and showing - a vegan would not have been at all out of place. Kids were accepted at whatever interest level they had - my dd was at the pet-level of interest, she did not even want to show at the fair and was not required to. At the expo (kind of like a science fair) the exhibits were all about care, breeding, that sort of thing, nothing about butchering or anything related to eating animals, although I suppose there could be. But your contact person will be able to answer all your questions I'm sure.
post #7 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

I know if she were in school or HSed in a more structured way she would not have time to obsess over guinea pigs.
This is true. For that reason, I think you should set a timer for 45 minutes and each time it goes off, interrupt her activities and direct her to something else. Preferably something she's less interested in. Clearly, she has a long attention span, which you should want to do something about.


Quote:
I am contemplating calling a guinea pig rescue org 2 hours away to see if we can visit. I know we will not be able to volunteer often - so I wonder if there is a point?
Rescues often utilize foster homes. Perhaps you could take in guinea pigs while they are awaiting adoption?

Quote:
sigh. It is February, the sun has not shined for more than a day or 2 in months,
Well, that's probably HUGE. I hear spring is on the way...although the view from my window does not even hint at that...still, spring will come and with it opportunities for new activities.
post #8 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
I have one concern though, DD is a vegan (her choice - I am an omnivore). 4H is a farming organisation, is it not? DD is opposed to factory farming. I wonder if she would be welcomed there.....

Anyone know anything about 4H?
We did 4H. She'll be welcomed - I doubt whether the subject would even come up - although she might have a few uncomfortable moments at some general meeting if she hears other members tell how much they got per pound for the animals they'd raised, etc. Made us squirm a bit . But our experience was that it was a very positive and relaxed organization that just focused on some wholesome work and learning values and the subject that was being covered in whatever class. I didn't particularly think of it as promotion of factory farming, though - seems to me there was more honoring of small farms that operated in an old fashioned way, which is a whole movement these days. It was amazing - there were a wide array of interesting classes on things that might never be found anywhere else - small engine repair, dog training, bonsai growing, and all sorts of things I can't remember. And the members were ever so much more naturally respectful, responsible, and attentive than I ever saw at a Scouts meeting! I couldn't understand why that was the case, but it was quite refreshing. Lillian
post #9 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by SagMom View Post
This is true. For that reason, I think you should set a timer for 45 minutes and each time it goes off, interrupt her activities and direct her to something else. Preferably something she's less interested in. Clearly, she has a long attention span, which you should want to do something about.
Oh, wicked! But having tea instead of coffee today, I did have to read that twice before I got it. - Lillian
post #10 of 37
Why would she need to expand her interests? It sounds like she has a wide scope of interests related to guinea pigs.

If you were a structured HSer you'd probably be coming up with guinea pig-themed lesson plans. As it is, you can just keep getting her access to all the guinea pig info she desires.
post #11 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillian J View Post


Oh, wicked! But having tea instead of coffee today, I did have to read that twice before I got it. - Lillian
**Snort!** I actually came back to this thread because as I was in the kitchen making a cake I realized that this was bugging me, lol! I *did* have coffee. Apparently I need more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post

If you were a structured HSer you'd probably be coming up with guinea pig-themed lesson plans. As it is, you can just keep getting her access to all the guinea pig info she desires.
That's what I was thinking. Educationalese would turn that into all kinds of "lessons".

Have you joined the ACBA? That would be a great place to start.

http://www.acbaonline.com/
post #12 of 37
sorry ladies, forgot I was typing to people who don't know my tone.
post #13 of 37
Just a thought to throw in --

My dh met a guy at a party who is a guinea pig judge. That was his professional occupation. If I understood correctly, he traveled all over the country judging at competitions, because there are very few qualified guinea pig judges. It was such a strange thing that it stuck with me.

So I don't know. Guinea pigs may in fact be a smart niche!
post #14 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SagMom View Post
This is true. For that reason, I think you should set a timer for 45 minutes and each time it goes off, interrupt her activities and direct her to something else. Preferably something she's less interested in. Clearly, she has a long attention span, which you should want to do something about.
This is funny - thank you.

She did go skating with us this afternoon, and is at the library as we speak, so I guess guineas have not totally overtaken her life. It sure seemed that way this morning though, when she was mooning over a picture of "Tex the Texel (type of guinea) from Toronto." for over an hour.

Ack, even if she is obsessed - so what? She is not hurting anyone and she enjoys it.

kathy
post #15 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by SagMom View Post
sorry ladies, forgot I was typing to people who don't know my tone.
I just thought at first that you'd changed your tune! Threw me for a loop.

Lillian
post #16 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
Jumping up and down for joy .....

We totally have 4H were we live. We live in a rural farm belt!

Off to google....

Kathy

PS. Ok I googled, not suprisingly there is one here and I have a name and contact number. I have one concern though, DD is a vegan (her choice - I am an omnivore). 4H is a farming organisation, is it not? DD is opposed to factory farming. I wonder if she would be welcomed there.....

Anyone know anything about 4H?
Many, but not all, kids in 4-H are from family farms. If you do some more research you will find there is a huge difference between family farm practices and factory farming.

More on 4-H here:

http://4-h.org/


And please stopping seen your daughter as someone obsessed and see her as someone passionate.
Support her passion and all the learning she is doing because of it!


Alex
( who has a family dairy farm and her a daughter that loves her guinea pigs)
post #17 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
Why would she need to expand her interests? It sounds like she has a wide scope of interests related to guinea pigs.

If you were a structured HSer you'd probably be coming up with guinea pig-themed lesson plans. As it is, you can just keep getting her access to all the guinea pig info she desires.
Isn't this an unschooling board????
post #18 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by polykow View Post
Isn't this an unschooling board????
Yes, but unschoolers have anxiety attacks too! Lillian
post #19 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillian J View Post


Yes, but unschoolers have anxiety attacks too! Lillian
That has nothing to do with what I was quoting. I was talking about posting on creating lesson plans.
Sure I get it that some people do whole life unschooling and some only academically.
But lesson plans???
YOu may even be a very relaxed eclectic homeschooler but unschooler?
post #20 of 37
Lol, my six year old is obsessed with the movie 9. She will sit and watch youtube videos and look at google images for hours if I let her. AT least yours is semi-constructive.
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