Paul and Melinda Hamling of Grumpton, Vermont have upset family, friends an neighbors by refusing to specify or confirm their child's species. Now about two (in human years) the youngster reportedly sometimes chooses to be taken in a stroller, and other times chooses a leash for daily walks around the neighborhood. He/she has been seen running after robins and other area birds, as well.
"We want Anton (not his real name... or gender) to have choices", said his/her Mom, "He/she loves to sleep with Petey, our terrier, sometimes, but s/he also spends a lot of time with out cats, Buster and Keaton. We also have a ferret s/he has responded to very positively, and s/he has been curious lately about the squirrels in our yard. We just want (Anton) to be free to make that choice for him/herself, because it will probably have a lot of impact on his/her life... how s/he sees him/herself, who or what s/he will marry or mate with, what kind of food or Purina chow s/he may prefer."
Family members and friends have been mostly outwardly tolerant of the practice, while making faces and swirling motions at the sides of their heads in private or while the parents' backs are turned.
Others have been more vocal in their questioning of the parents' judgment. "Are you, just... batsh*t crazy?"... that's what I said", an anonymous uncle shared. "I mean, seriously... what if the kid chose to be a rock? Would they leave him in the garden, or use him/her to prop up the leg of a picnic table? I did bring him/her a bag of dog treats for his/her birthday, like they asked, but only because I didn't want to raise a stink".
Neighbors' reactions have been mixed, "I'm not sure about letting my Gracie play with him/her. I mean, what if s/he's something like a pit-bull or a badger? That could be dangerous. No, I'm afraid we won't take that kind of risk unless they at least give us the phylum."