Yesterday found me furiously nesting. I sewed until my sewing machine broke (actually, my sweet daughter broke it, but we won’t go into that). I swept and mopped the entire house. As I finished up the last of the dishes, I found myself scrubbing the outside of my frying pan with a stainless steel pot scrubber. Even as I scrubbed, I reflected bemusedly that whether my frying pan was sparkling would really make no difference whatsoever. Still, I scrubbed.
Finally, at 10:15 p.m., Tony brought home my new little babies. And so, without further ado, meet Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took. (Merry and Pippin for short, of course.)
Yes, you’re right. It’s a blurry picture, and one of them is moving so quickly he’s become a photographic ghost. That’s because photo flashes can damage their eyes, and they are so energetic (and I’m not the greatest photographer).
But here’s what they look like in real life, thanks to a real photographer:
Tell me they aren’t the most adorable little beings you’ve ever seen in your entire life.
I have been wanting a sugar glider for years. I found out about them in California, where they are unfortunately illegal. Remember my first thought when I saw our lovely screened in porch here in Florida? Originally, I thought getting a sugar glider was just a dream, since our landlord had said no pets (other than fish). But when we started thinking about getting Axa a guinea pig or rat we inquired again, and he said a small animal in a cage was fine, and what he had really meant when he said no pets was no dogs or cats. Unfortunately, Axa turned out to be allergic to both guinea pigs as rats. And then I had the idea again of a sugar glider. The care and feeding of sugar gliders is a much more involved prospect than that of most small animals, so these are my pets, but I’m sure the whole family will enjoy them.
Sugar gliders are tiny marsupials with large, soulful eyes, a patagium (flying membrane), and the softest grey fur imaginable. My little gliders are 8-month-old rescues from a family who just didn’t have time for them. Gliders are very social animals, who in the wild live in colonies of up to twelve. To properly bond with a human, they need hours of time together every day. Since they are nocturnal, one of the major ways of bonding with them is to carry them around in a pouch under your shirt all day as they sleep. As an attachment parenting nut who would still be carrying around her five-year-old in a sling if he weren’t too heavy (and on top of that, too busy now with his own important engineering projects), I think sugar gliders might just be the perfect pet for me.
Sugar gliders are native to Australia, where they live in trees and eat Eucalyptus sap and insects. In our house, they live in a cage taller than me, full of baby toys and polar-fleece hammocks, and eat a complicated diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, mealworms (despite my rampant arthropod anxiety. Yes, that’s how much I love my new babies), and a specially formulated protein mix blended up with honey, pollen, and scrambled eggs. I feel like a real zookeeper.
Here’s a closeup of some of their “stuff”:
It’s been years since I got my sewing machine out for anything but mending or hemming cut-off jeans. Here are the results of my sewing project last night: a flannel-lined bonding pouch with inside seams, boxed corners, and velcro closure. Hey, it was harder than it sounds. For me, at any rate, with my rusty sewing skills.
You might recognize the fabric from my long ago (and ill-fated) foray into sewing all-in-one cloth diapers when I was pregnant with Axa. Funny, she doesn’t look all that happy with her diaper . . .
For now, my babies are adjusting to their new home, so I am limiting my contact with them to feeding them raisins through the cage bars, getting up in the middle of the night to watch them play for hours, and putting tiny blankies with my smell on them in their bed. Next week we will start the “real” bonding. I’ll let you know how it goes!