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Adjusting to Life on the Small Side


by marauder_on_da_loose

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There are a number of things to keep in mind after your beloved pet becomes a baby again. Substantial neohome renovations are the least of your problems now – try having a neopet who might look like a baby, but has the mind and personality of a fully grown neopet. Unfortunately, when Boochi zapped my Xweetok prongs_padfoot_3, I wasn't prepared for all the changes in life to come – but you can be. My guide discusses all the major considerations about going gaga.

8. Renovation Rescue

Although your neopet has maintained all their mental characteristics from before their transformation, you have to remember that they've undergone a massive physical change. Suddenly, they're barely reaching half of the height they were before – now placing many items out of reach. While this is usually a good thing with babies, you have to remember that this baby can be trusted to not swallow small objects or break fragile items (unless that was already a problem of course).

Your neohome is going to need some serious work to allow your neopet to move around with ease and get all the stuff they need. Anything over about 2-3 feet is now well out of reach. But you have to remember that you and your other pets still need to use the space – and 2-3 feet is generally going to be a bit of a stretch downwards. (Back pain, anyone?)

I strongly recommend moving your neopet to the bottom floor bedroom – those stairs to the attic are going to be tough going – and resizing everything in it to suit your new little one. Make sure all their favourite stuff is within easy reach – books, toys, games etc. As long as your neopet has a room all to themselves where they'll never need help getting stuff, most reasonable neopets will be happy to compromise for the rest of the house.

My baby neopet and I agreed on a portable step/stair that she can move around the house on her own. Obviously, she can't get up into the attic, but everywhere else is accessible to her with that box. Luckily, none of her other siblings were overly tall to begin with, and I'm certainly no giant, so all the furniture was already on the smaller side. If you've got some bigger pets, you might need to do some more work.

7. Playing with the Siblings

I don't know about you, but I've noticed a significant change in the dynamics of playtime in my house since the big (or very little) change. While my pet was always pretty good at holding her own during playtime, and everyone played pretty fair, I've noticed of late that my poor baby is copping the worst bits that playtime has to offer.

Seems to me that she always has the play the villain, or the servant or whatever drudge role is going in the game they're at. Not only that, but now I'm noticing that her siblings aren't afraid to take something off her if they want it for themselves. While this would be bad enough is she really were the youngest, it's made even worse because she is actually the oldest of the lot of them.

Now I've given my other pets a very stern talking to, and I think I've made them understand. The appearance of being a baby is really just that – an appearance. She's still the same intelligent pet that she's always been, and she deserves a fair go.

6. Customisation

I don't know if you've noticed, but there's not much customisation you can do with your baby neopet. While before, they could express themselves in whatever way they chose with the almost unlimited amount of customisation items available, suddenly they're done to changing their background, floating toys and outside accessories and a very limited selection of baby clothes.

My baby pet Prongs has always been very clear in how she wanted to customise herself – only the very best items from the NC mall would do. She had a lovely wardrobe of wigs, dresses and accessories, and now she can't use any of them. While her siblings are busy making the argument that they should be able to use her clothes (at least until she get changed again) I've notice that she's quite upset about the whole thing.

Not the least cause of which is that she hates the baby clothes. See Prongs didn't choose to be a baby, she got zapped by Boochi, and while pets who wanted to go baby may love the baby clothes, Prongs won't have a bar of it. It was all I could do to get her to keep the bow in her hair. It's really important to remember that your baby pet may not want to dress like a baby too – and what are you going to do with their clothes in the meantime?

5. Getting Jobs Done

Being small definitely has its advantages. You'll never whack your head on those low-hanging branches, and people tend to put up with more cheek from you. But it also has a downside – almost every job is too much for your little body to handle. Taking your petpet for a walk? Forget about it. That petpet will fairly drag you along. Cooking or cleaning is definitely out of the question.

While many of you will argue that not doing household chores can only be a good thing, remember that peace in the home only comes from sharing the hard work. You might find that your other pets are starting to get a little irritated that their sibling doesn't have any chores. (I probably would.) But don't fret just yet – this can be managed. Try coming up with jobs that your pet can do without help from others. My baby pet is in charge of putting the toys away in the playroom and has fun keeping the petpets occupied while I organise the meals for everyone. (Petpets are forever underfoot when food is about, had you noticed?)

I think it is important that your baby neopet has some chores to do, not only to keep the peace, but also because most neopets like to keep busy and do their share. No one likes not being able to help out at all, and it will make your pet feel good about themselves if they can do something meaningful around the neohome.

4. Dealing with Ignorance

While you and I are well aware that your baby pet is a baby in stature only, prepare to face a lot of Neopians who still think that your baby neopet really is an infant. Both you and your pet need to be able to handle the 'coo chi, coo chi, coo' and 'aren't you such a clever little tyke' you're going to cop from other Neopians. (Elderly neopets are the worst offenders) You're also going to get rattles in the face, and Neopians begging for a chance to cuddle your little one.

While this may not bother you too much, and some neopets may even enjoy the cuddles and constant attention, I can guarantee you the not many are going to enjoy the condescending attitudes and baby-speak. And fair enough too; would you enjoy being talked down to all the time? A simple solution will be to explain that your neopet only looks like a baby, and that they're actually as intelligent as anyone else, but this might not work on everyone. You could try having your pet explain it, or even showing off how smart they are by doing difficult maths puzzles or solving the Lenny Conundrum – or you could talk to your neopet about how ignorance is everywhere, and we just have to do our best to ignore it all.

3. Learning the Limitations

Maybe your pet used to be the Terror of the Battledome? Maybe they were an epic adventurer, or maybe they were just highly active. Either way, they're going to struggle with coming to terms with the limitations of their new body. While your baby neopet won't lose any of their battle stats (speed, movement, attack etc) they will be going into future battles with a significant disadvantage. A smaller body doesn't make as much of an impact when tackling an enemy, and baby neopets aren't much in a wrestling match. Climbing a mountain is going to be harder – the hand-holds are that much harder to reach and they're going to struggle to control that kayak.

But even just the everyday things are going to be much harder. That little baby body is going to get tired out so much quicker than before. And why wouldn't it? You need to take more steps to get where you're going, things are heavier compared to your body weight and let's face it; the body of a baby isn't designed to handle the rough and tumble of an adult life. You and your baby neopet are going to have to relearn everything you've understood about what they can and cannot do. And you in particular are going to need to keep a close eye on that fragile little one of yours. Beware they will try to do stuff beyond their ability, and you'd better be on hand when they do.

2. Pets Playing Up

If your little baby neopet is anything like my Prongs, then they're not entirely above a little manipulation to get their way. It can be hard to keep in mind that your little munchkin is really an adult in disguise – and they will capitalise on that fact. It will involve the occasional tantrum.

Mostly I've noticed it when my pets are having playtime – but it also comes out when Prongs doesn't feel like doing her lessons. A sneaky few tears, maybe a gulp or a weep and Bam! The maternal (or paternal) instinct gets the better of you and you rush to their defence. You tell off the other pets for upsetting the baby and take them off for a quiet cuddle and chat. Maybe you get them a treat to calm them down, or play a special game with them alone.

While it can be very hard to fight the maternal (or paternal) instinct to protect your little one, and you can hardly blame your neopet for trying to manipulate you every now and then, this is a very bad situation to be in. While you can put up with temper tantrums from legitimately young neopets who really don't know any better, your neopet is old enough to know better ways of dealing with bad situations. Besides which, their siblings are going to get really irritated really quickly if they keep playing the 'baby card'.

1. Adult Mind, Baby Body

Finally, it's really important to remember how confusing this time must be for your baby neopet. Their body is suddenly very different from how it was, and everyone is treating them differently to how they're used to be treated. Try putting yourself in the body of a baby – you're as smart as you always were, you're independent and you know your own mind. But your body says otherwise. You body is telling you that you're too little to be able to do things by yourself. Other Neopians are always treating you like you're not smart and clever, and treating you like you really are a little kid. And you can't even express your personality through customisation. All you can do is dress like a little baby.

Considering this, can you really blame your pet if they are confused, scared and insecure? Can you blame them for occasionally acting like a baby, when all their external sensors are telling them that they are? All I can suggest is to do your best to treat your neopet as you always have, and to sit down with them and sort out how they feel.

Going gaga is a pretty significant change. If you and your pet can work through the lifestyle changes, it's an interesting and rewarding experience. But if you pet hates their new body, never fear! You could always paint them to a colour more suited to their personality?

 
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