Let me get the obvious out of the way; we love animals! To work with and care for animals you have to love them. If not, it’s becomes work. My partner and I already have full time jobs, so we do not need to add more work to our middle class American life. What we do need to add is more enjoyment. Even though caring for multiple animals is a big responsibility, we don’t look at it as work. Responsibility is something we find enjoyment in. Having kids is a big responsibility, most of the time we enjoy it. Other times not so much. The times that we don’t enjoy it seem to be the times when our kids make us wonder ‘when did we go wrong’. Sometimes parenthood just wants to fight, scream, and roll around on the floor until you question everything you’ve done in the past years. It’s part of having kids, but I have yet to find the time when caring for animals makes us question ourselves that much. Another part of having kids is their curiosity and that is one of the greatest gifts of parenthood.
One random day our oldest daughter, Mia, came home and asked for a ball python for her birthday. My initial reaction was ‘If you find out how to care for one we will get one.’ So, we both sat at the laptop and started researching. First we searched for scientific studies on the husbandry of ball pythons…nah, just kidding. We went on YouTube. At first it was like trying to walk up an icy hill; start a promising looking video just to slide the cursor over to the back button. Start another promising looking video, back button. Video. Back Button. Repeat until you both want to tap out. All of sudden a rope, in the form of Snake Discovery, came down to help us up. Then Clint’s Reptiles. Then Dav Kaufman’s Reptiles Adventure. We made it up and we found our info. High fives and fist pumps. Now, it was time to buy our 2 new pets (our youngest, Ella, was quick with the ‘if she gets one, I get one’. Two presents in one shot is a no brainer), so I took over.
YouTube’s rabbit holes are deep, but we know this and most of us are prepared for it. We keep a look out so we don’t stumble in. Morphmarket is a rabbit hole I didn’t see coming and I fell for a long time. While on YouTube I heard a references to “morphs”. I didn’t think anything of it because I was focused on husbandry. If I didn’t hear anything about husbandry within a couple of seconds, back down the hill we slid. So, when I clicked on the ball python section of Morphmarket I said to my partner, Stephanie, ‘well, no ball pythons this year.’ She then took over, took a flame thrower to the new icy hill, found a local breeder and order 2 ball pythons. Done. The search for birthday presents was over, but I was still stuck in Morphmarket.
I was amazed with these beautiful creatures. Never did I think appearances of ball pythons, and snakes in general, could be changed this much. I went back to YouTube and found breeders like Justin Kobylka, Billy Rows, Garrick DeMeyer and I was in awe with the artform. The quantity of morphs and all of the countless possibilities where enough to intrigue me. The methodology of selective breeding made me a resident of this wonderland. There is something about making a plan. A great meticulous plan. Seeing it play out step by step just like you envisioned. All the while knowing you have no control of what type of ball python is going to hatch. Yet no matter what comes out you’re still proud of how everything turned out.
So when your child is curious take the time to be curious with them. It might be the nudge you need to learn a few lessons and find a new world.