June 1st "ish", 2007-December 21, 2008
(this isn't really her, but she looked pretty much like this)
Today was a sad day for the kids. Their mother officially failed yet another innocent, annoying little hamster. Little Miss died this morning a sad and tragic death. I am sure she is in hamster heaven arranging for me to rot in hamster h-e-double hockey sticks for not protecting her. To totally explain the story, we need to go back in time to August 2007.
When Kenny was in Kindergarten, he made friends with a particular boy. In August of 2007, before first grade started, we had a play date with this friend. His mother tells me the story of how they went to a pet store to get two hamsters for their kids as pets. They were assured both hamsters were boys. Well, unless God granted a miracle, it was a boy and a girl as baby hamsters soon arrived and they were left wondering what to do with all these hamsters. She offered one to me. At first, being smart, I said no- we already had 4 kids, a dog and two cats- not a good idea. But, she also offered to throw in a free cage, a whole bag of food and some bedding. I still wasn't in love with the idea, but I knew the kids would love it and I always had hamsters growing up, and I was getting everything free so we would try it. So, we got the hamster and soon named him "Cookie" because he looked (also much like the hamster above) like an ice cream cookie sandwich. The kids loved him! I didn't love cleaning the cage but the kids were happy. One fateful day that same fall (Kenny was at school, Jacob at home not yet in Kindergarten), I was cleaning the cage. Before, when I cleaned the cage, I would clean it in the kitchen with the hamster in the sink beside me. Well, this wasn't working anymore because Cookie could stretch over the sink and climb out. So, this day, I put Cookie in the bath tub and closed the door to the bathroom, while I cleaned the cage in the kitchen. I did not hear Jacob open and NOT close the door. All I knew next, is that I walked into the living room to get something and there is a wet mass on the floor. It was a broken Cookie- and my dog standing over him. He was still breathing, but barely. I took him into the kitchen, frantically wondering what to do with the broken hamster that was clearly not going to survive. He died then. The kids were broken-hearted and I felt awful for failing to protect him. Every smart part of myself, as well as other people said we should not get another hamster. But, the kids were so sad and I felt like it was my fault. The stupid part of me, and some people, said I should get another since the kids wanted one and it wasn't their fault.
So, I call the mother who gave the hamster. Can you imagine making that call? "We killed the one you gave us, do you have another?" She did and was happy to get rid of another one. Against my will, the kids named her "Little Miss." I hated the name, but it stuck. I did something smart though- I bought a small plastic carrying cage for when I cleaned her cage- I would put her in the small plastic one right next to me on the counter so she would be safe- problem solved. Things went well enough, Kenny has been old enough lately to help clean the cage and they enjoyed playing with her sometimes. I wasn't so fond of her, but I figured her life span is short anyway. She did escape a couple times by a cage door left open, or a piece of her cage breaking, but we luckily found her each time before the dog did.
Well, I woke up at about 1:15 am this morning to a strange noise and my dog very excited about something in the hallway. This isn't like her- she is normally passed out on the floor next to our bed. I somehow just knew. I felt sick to my stomach as I jumped out of bed saying "oh no...." I go into the hall and turn on the light and find a dead hamster on the floor. Oh no.....not again... what was I thinking?!?!?! How did she get out?!?! I woke Aaron up- wasn't dealing with THAT alone- and he disposed of her. (Cookie got a funeral and a grave, but it is just too darn cold, for one among other reasons....) I checked out the cage and saw an area of the cage that failed.
It took a very long time to go back to sleep as I thought about how in the world to tell the kids, what was I thinking getting another hamster- it is once again my fault this thing died.
I am guilty of yet another thing as well- I lied to my kids. I just couldn't tell them the dog did it again for fear of them taking it out on the dog. I told them that the cage broke (true), she climbed out and fell (true) and was just hurt to bad from the fall (lie....) and daddy already put her with Cookie (not totally true, but not a lie- they are in hamster heaven together right?)
So anyway, this turned out much longer than intended. I learned my lesson- which I should have learned before. I did learn it before, but let my kids and my guilt talk me into the second hamster. Absolutely no more hamsters!!! Probably never again (they are stinky and annoying anyway), but definitely not while we have other animals in the house. I swear I once had a brain- then I had kids..... Oh well. The kids are handling it fine. They cried for a few minutes but then were easily distracted when I told them our fun plans for FHE tomorrow!