My kid would LOVE to have a pet. A dog would be best, but cat would be great, too. Hamsters, gerbils, birds, even fish - but we said no. Hamsters seemed especially appealing - trembling whiskers, cute little eyes, tiny. Kid's friend had one and kid loved to play with it.
Then kid's friend needed someone to watch their hamster for a week. The second day, the hamster squrimed its way out of its cage and hid on the foor, underneath the bed. By the time kid found it, hours later, it had pooped and peed. A LOT. So my kid had to lie face down and clean it all up.
Now kid never wants a hamster. Ever. Kid shivers at the thought.
I'm thinking I can apply this to future parenting challengs. Like let kid try binge drinking this weekend. Score some smack the next. Meet some nice guys off of Myspace the weekend after that. Etc. Maybe I should pre-innoculate with a dose of reality.