This is a going to be a very different post to usual but one I have felt compelled to write.
I have recently received some criticism for letting Squidgygirl colour in some images during my review of The Magical Guineapig Colouring Book. I feel the need to respond here because of all the criticism I have received during my time on Instagram I found this the most baffling.
Now, I’ve been criticised for feeding too much fruit (as I’ve said before this is the internet, not everything happens when it looks like it does, my pigs have a very balanced diet and a lot more hay than you’d find interesting). I’ve been criticised for breeding (now that’s easy we’ve never bred any of our pets!).
However out of all criticisms I find this concept of kids not ‘deserving’ beautiful things completely alien to my own parenting philosophy.
I personally feel that the criticism is bordering on disablism; if my child is not artistically capable or aware enough to appreciate something then should an adult with learning difficulties or perhaps motor impairment be allowed to?
Of course they should! The Magical Guinea Pig book is beautiful, it makes my daughter happy, it is good to be happy. I also sometimes let her choose her own clothes and splash in puddles. Again, it is good to be happy.
One of the other things that makes my daughter happy is HER Guinea Pigs. You may know them as the Squidgypigs. Her favourites (she is four it’s fun to have favourites at four) are Ethel-Seal, Doughnut and Slincypig.
She loves them; she makes up games and stories about them, tells people we meet about them.
Squidgygirl helps me take care of them, and by help i mean she genuinely helps, she stands at the sink (on a stool) to wash the bowls with me, she fills their bottles and food bowls, handfeeds them treats and yes she handles them.
I taught my daughter the correct way to hold a Guinea Pig when we first brought Ethel-Seal and Peppa-Pea home. She got it straight away, she’s firm but flexible in her handling and I am always there to advise and supervise. She isn’t allowed to handle them without me and nor does she want to, she respects her pigs, she respects myself and most importantly I respect her.
Children deserve beautiful things like books, and toys and pets not because one day they’ll be adult but because today they are children. They see the world in a very special way, full of wonder, love and happiness and I believe they should be encouraged to do the things that make them happy and as I’ve said before; It’s good to be happy.