People unfamiliar with exotic pets such as iguanas or chinchillas tend to either be afraid of them, or they wonder why I would want to keep such a thing because they assume these creatures have no individual personality. They would be wrong.
I went downstairs tonight and got some raspberries from the frig and was eating (read: inhaling) them in the kitchen. My chinchillas all reside in the breakfast nook because it is the easiest place to cool down in summer since it's like a small room (they are in danger of heat stroke over 75°F) and the easiest place to contain their mess and clean it up (they scatter hay and cage substrate on the floor daily).
Odin (our 10 year old light grey chinnie) saw me and was immediately sticking his pink nose through the bars begging for a treat: "ME TOO! ME TOO! ME TOO!"
I don't like giving him raspberries tho cuz of the tiny seeds (plus they are huge compared to his size if you think about it - that's like giving us a berry the size of a watermelon to eat all at once), so I gave him a small fresh blueberry instead. He loves those. Odin likes all kinds of fresh stuff - organic salad greens and grapes are other things I give him once in a great while (just in case new chinchilla owners seeking info are led to this blog, please note that giving fresh items such as this can cause diarrhea so if your chinnie does like these things, please don't give them anything large, and don't allow these types of treats too often. Once a month at the most for fresh items. Dried fruits are better; small bits of pineapple, papaya, apple, and raisins are your best bet. Chinchillas are junkies - they will quickly become addicted to treats, so you really have to monitor it and only give them one treat per day. That said...)
My other two chinchillas, Edwyn (charcoal grey, 9 years old) and Arty (the 4 year old beige that came to me just after New Year's - I'll have to put that in a different blog cuz that's quite a story), saw me give Odin a blueberry and they're like "US TOO! US TOO!" Suddenly I have pink noses poking through cage bars everywhere.
I gave a blueberry to Edwyn, who grabbed it and ate half, then probably dropped the other half somewhere in the cage to be revisited later tonight. (He's like that - they're nocturnal by the way.)
Then I offered one to Arty who sniffs it and says: "Uh no, I don't like that."
Me: Oh c'mon, you'll like it. The other two like them.
Arty: No no, I'm sure I don't like these.
Me: How do you know? You've never had one. Here.
Arty: No, I don't like them. I'm sure.
Me: Seriously, try it. (Side note: Yes, I speak out loud to my animals.)
Me: TRY IT.
Me: "Look stunad... they're the same as the dried blueberries you immediately pick out of your dish every time I give them to you. TAKE THIS. It's the SAME THING."
Arty: Gimme a treat.
Me: I AM giving you a treat! Take it!
Arty: I don't want that treat. Gimme a different treat. (Turns "the cute look" on me.)
Me: No, don't do that. Eat this!
Arty: NO, GIMME A DIFFERENT TREAT. (Turns up the cuteness by a factor of 10.)
I go get the dried blueberries in the treat container and give him one, which he immediately gobbles down. Mind you, this is the same thing I was offering him before, it's just that these have had all the water sucked out of them.
Arty: That was good. Can I have another one? I'm sure you didn't give me one yet. How come the other two got treats and I didn't?
(And the other two are in the background going, "Yeah, we didn't get treats either. We're sure. Give us one!" They are excellent little liars.)
This totally reminded me of my daughter when she was five. Or maybe when she was FIFTEEN.
Her: I don't like Indian food.
Me: Try it.
Her: No! I don't like it.
Me: How do you know? You've never had it. (A CLASSIC parent argument.)
Her: I just know! (A CLASSIC child response.)
Me: C'mon, try it.
Her: NO! It smells funny!
Me: Try it!
Me: Ok here, have this instead. Take this bread (naan) and dip it in this sauce (tikka masala).
Her: YUM! That's really good. Can I have more? What is it?
Me: INDIAN FOOD.
Her: (No response.)
A similar story a few years later during the one month she lived here with me in California before running back to the boyfriend in New Jersey: Oceanside has a street fair in the evening every Thursday. There are a ton of food booths, but this one place sells Greek gyros and OH MY GOD are they good. Best gyros I've ever tasted. The first time we had them it was just luck in picking that out of all the booths; now I go back on Thursdays just for that.
Katy and I had been walking around and she kept insisting she wasn't hungry but she hadn't eaten all day (drama over being apart from the boyfriend... they cried on the phone together EVERY NIGHT for a MONTH - him included!). I finally got tired of trying to convince her to eat and bought a gyro for myself. As soon as I tasted it I knew she'd like it, but getting her to find that out was always a challenge.
Me: You need to eat some dinner. This is really good. Try it.
Her: No. I'm not hungry.
Me: You're missing out. You'll love it. Just take one bite!
Her: NO! What is it?
Me: Lamb. (mistake - never tell them it's anything but beef or chicken)
Her: EWWWW!!! GROSS!!! NO!
Me: TRY IT! It tastes like beef. You won't know the difference.
Me: TRY IT!
One bite, no comment.
A few minutes later...
Me: Do you want more? You need to stop sulking and eat something.
Her: I'm NOT sulking! FINE. Just one more bite. (Rolling her eyes.)
Me: You sure you don't want one of your own? I'll buy you one.
Her: No, MOM! I'm not hungry. (So much eye rolling her head could've been a bowling lane.)
Then I ask her to hold it for me (yeah, I'm smart) and it starts disappearing like magic. When she gets down to the last few bites she asks if I want anymore of it. I say no thanks, you finish it. No other comments are made. (I ate something later at home.)
These things are necessary silent victories lest you lose the next battle because your opponent has figured out your strategy. (She was 19. NINETEEN! Don't ever let anyone tell you the terrible twos
stop in a few years! The only cure for that is moving out of the house!)
The next week she asks: Hey, can we get gyros again?
Chinchillas are much more stubborn.