Re: What kinds of pet(s) do you have, if you wanted the pet FOR your lo?
I think a fish would be perfect for any house with kids less than 5. Not as much fun as something small and furry, but much safer for both kids and pets. Reptiles are prime carriers for salmonella and can make kids sick. Kids under 5 have too hard a time with being gentle and understanding instructions about how to handle animals and it would be too easy for a hamster to get hurt or bite if frightened. And actually, I'd consider getting a rat instead unless you're just too squeamish. They're a lot smarter, can be very affectionate, and you can even use them for simple lessons at home when you're schooling. The kids can build their own maze and learn about how we learn!
Seriously, for the ages you have either stick with fish (maybe get a salamander in the tank for extra fun), consider a puppy/kitten (and also all the time they take that's going to be your job), or if you HAVE to get a small animal right now I'd vote for turtle. They are very hardy, can't be squished, and as long as you are quick with the hand sanitizer/washing and supervise to make sure fingers don't go in the mouth then salmonella risk is minimized.
Pharmacist, wife to a nerdy chemist, and proud mama to Leta (12/2006), Derek (4/2009) and Viola (7/2012). Now if only I could figure out a way to quit my job and still pay my student loans all would be well with the world.